What We Do

    • The chief business of the Colonial Society is to publish documents related to the early history of Massachusetts. (See Publications for a complete list.)

    • From time to time, the Colonial Society convenes scholarly conferences to encourage research on subjects of special interest. We generally publish the proceedings of these conferences in order to make the information imparted there more widely available. (See Calendar for the program of our most recent conference and news of forthcoming conferences. See Publications for a list of the published proceedings of past conferences.)

    • To break down isolation among graduate students and promote the sharing of research, the Colonial Society periodically convenes a day-long Graduate Student Forum, where Ph.D. candidates report on their work in progress and receive supportive advice from the event's senior scholar facilitator and from CSM members and other graduate students in attendance. (To learn more details about how to participate see Graduate Student Forums.)

    • Together with University of Massachusetts-Boston, the Colonial Society sponsors The New England Quarterly, a scholarly journal devoted to New England life and letters. (See New England Quarterly for subscription information.)

    • To honor Walter Muir Whitehill, the editor of the Society from 1946 to 1978, the Society offers the Whitehill Prize in Early American History (including a $2,500 honorarium and publication in the New England Quarterly) for the best scholarly essay on a topic in early Massachusetts history. (See Whitehill Prize for contest criteria and a list of past winners.)

    • The Society offers the John Winthrop award every two years for the best work dealing with the history and cultures of the peoples who shaped the region now known as New England in times leading up to and including the seventeenth century. See John Winthrop Award for details.

    • The Colonial Society is pleased to announce a pilot initiative to support educational programs that enrich K-12 students' understanding of colonial Massachusetts from its earliest contact between Native peoples and English settlers down through Revolution and Independence. Details and an application form may be downloaded at this link.  

    • Along with thirty other cultural agencies in the area, this Society is a member of the New England Regional Fellowship Consortium, which offers grants designed to encourage projects that draw on the resources and strengths of the collaborating organizations. For further information, see the New England Regional Fellowship Consortium.

    • We help to maintain an important Boston landmark at 87 Mount Vernon Street. Our headquarters is one of a handful of intact private houses built by Boston architect Charles Bulfinch. (For a history of the building, see 87 Mount Vernon Street.)

    • For the history of the Society from its founding in 1892 through its centennial in 1992 see Historical Sketches of The Colonial Society of Massachusetts, 1892-1952 and 1952-1992.

    What We Do Not Do

    • We do not maintain a library or manuscript collection.

    • We regret we do not have the staff to assist with genealogical queries or K-12 research papers.

    • For similar reasons, our headquarters at 87 Mount Vernon Street is not open to the public.

    • We publish documentary collections only and cannot assist with subventions for scholarly monographs.