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Archives Department

Guide to the Archives Department of Boston Public Library's Special Collections

Archives at BPL

The Archives Department
at Boston Public Library

Located in the BPL’s Central Library in Copley Square, the Archives Department manages, describes, and makes accessible archival collections across all curatorial areas within the BPL Special Collections department, including Arts (Fine Arts, Music, Photography, Prints) and Rare Books and Manuscripts, as well as the Leventhal Map & Education Center.

In collaboration with librarians and curators across Special Collections, BPL's archivists establish priorities and design best practices, standards, and workflows to make archival collections findable and usable for researchers.

The Boston Public Library Archives Department facilitates open and equitable public access to archival collections held by the library. In partnership with Special Collections department staff, the department arranges, describes, and preserves our archival holdings using iterative and sustainable practices. Through reference support, user-centered discovery, and adherence to national standards for archival description, the department works to meet the needs of BPL users and adapt as research practices change over time. The Archives Department aims to describe BPL’s archival collections in ways that are inclusive and respectful to those who create and use them and the people and communities these collections represent.

We are a small but dynamic team focused on stewarding BPL's archival collections:

  • Eve Neiger, Lead Archivist
  • Margaret Peachy, Archivist
  • Kim Reynolds, Archivist
  • Position vacant, Archivist
     

To contact our staff please send an email to archives@bpl.org.

We aim to acknowledge all inquiries within 72 hours. If you are asking a research question, please note that depending on the complexity of the question, it may take up to several weeks for our staff to gather all the pertinent information.

Anyone can access our archival collections!

Archival collections held by Special Collections are open to all.

Our collections are a great resource for anyone needing primary source materials, such as letters, documents, or photographs. Our collections can be used for a wide range of research purposes, from learning about local history for a high school paper, to gathering source material for a documentary film, to genealogical family research.

Black and white photograph of a large crowd on City Hall Plaza in Boston, MA.
Crowd at City Hall Plaza. Boston Pictorial Archive, Arts Department, Boston Public Library

Search the archival collections

archives.bpl.org page header
Use the search box below to search archives.bpl.org and start finding materials in our archival collections.

Search results will open in a new window.

 


We are adding new collections to our database all the time! Please be aware that many of our collections are only minimally described. 

Contact us & hours

Connect with BPL Archives staff!
 
  • Questions about archival collections?
  • Need help navigating archives.bpl.org?
  • Want to help us by suggesting changes to our collection descriptions?

Reach out to BPL Archivists directly at archives@bpl.org
The Special Collections Reading Room is closed for renovations until mid-2022.

Until then, collections are unavailable for in-person research. Once the Special Collections Reading Room is open for research, materials will be requestable from archives.bpl.org and the library catalog. 

Location
Archives Department
Boston Public Library
700 Boylston Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02116

Hours
Monday through Friday
9 a.m. - 5 p.m.