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Boston & Its Neighborhoods

Libraries & Archives

Boston-Area Repositories List.
Compiled by librarians at Harvard, this guide serves as an outstanding guide to Boston-area libraries and repositories. The annotated descriptions of some institutions are especially useful.   Please note:  the guide does include many annotations of Harvard library holdings which are not accessible to the B.U. community.   Nevertheless, the guide provides an important gateway to the rich library resources in the Boston area.


Boston Architectural College (formerly Center) Library


Boston Athenaeum Library.
"The Boston Library Society records include information on early members, and catalogs and reading lists from this early Boston institution. The Anthology Society records chronicle the evolution of a small group of scholars who became the founders of the Boston Athenæum.  As the founders and proprietors of the Athenæum were also the dynamic builders of Federal Boston, the Athenæum archive preserve crucial records relative to 18th- and early 19th-century literary and cultural development in the city.  Taken all together, this archive provides a complete and unbroken record of Boston cultural development from 1792 until the present day."


Boston Library Consortium (BLC) Members.
Boston University matriculating students, faculty, and staff may use your BU ID (Terrier Card) to borrow books from Boston College, Brandeis University, and Northeastern University.


Boston Public Library.
For a list of materials in the library's Special Collections, search by subject  "Boston."  The 3,510 books in the  John Adams Library at  the  BPL are available online via the Internet Archive


Boston University's Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center.
Includes The Boston Symphony Orchestra Archive, consisting  primarily of scores.


Bostonian  Society Library and Museum Catalogs: Books, Manuscripts, Photographs.
"Highlights of our library collection include sources on Boston history, colonial history and the American Revolution, city directories from 1789 onward, and Massachusetts Revolutionary War military records. The archival collection comprises a wide selection of historical documents, including manuscript collections, financial records, broadsides, maps and plans, newspapers, and proclamations."  See the "Images" page for information on their photographic collection.


Fenway Library Consortium.
15 Boston-area libraries share resources through borrowing privileges.


Guide to the Records in the City Archives.
Staff of the City of Boston Archives.  "The Guide is organized by departmental record groups and provides brief historical information and descriptions of record series under each department."


Harvard University Libraries.
Check their Digital Collections and Archives for Boston-related material.


Insurance Library Association of Boston.
Collection includes Sanborn fire insurance maps, historical insurance journals, and books. Underwriters proceedings from as far back as 1866 and Massachusetts Insurance Commissioner Reports starting from the mid-1800's. Journals include Rough Notes, National Underwriter, and Best publications going back to the mid 1900's.


Massachusetts Historical Society.
"The Massachusetts Historical Society collects manuscripts—the letters, diaries, and other personal papers of individuals and families. While the Society holds many famous documents—Paul Revere's own account of his famous ride and manuscript copies of the Declaration of Independence by both Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, for example... "


Northeastern University: Snell Library Archives.
Among the collections are Freedom House Photographs of Roxbury Places, People, and Events, 1950-1975, Boston's Latino/a Community History Collection and Boston History Collections.


State Library of Massachusetts.


University of Massachusetts at Boston Library.
Its Archival Collections and  Digital Collections include many Boston-related items.