National Archives At Boston

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National Archives At Boston

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National Archives at Boston: Preserving America's Historical Treasures

The National Archives at Boston is a treasure trove of historical records, documents, and artifacts that provides valuable insights into the past of the United States. This repository of our nation's history is dedicated to preserving and making accessible essential records from federal agencies and courts in New England. The National Archives at Boston is part of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), a federal agency responsible for preserving and documenting government records across the country.

A Brief History of the National Archives at Boston

Established in 1934, the National Archives at Boston has a long and storied history of its own. Originally housed in the historic Custom House in downtown Boston, the National Archives at Boston moved to a state-of-the-art facility in Waltham, Massachusetts, in 1994. In 2012, the National Archives at Boston relocated once again to its current location in the Frederick C. Murphy Federal Center in Waltham.

Throughout its existence, the National Archives at Boston has worked tirelessly to preserve and provide access to the historical records that have shaped the New England region and the United States as a whole. Its collection of documents dates back to the 18th century, and it is a vital resource for historians, researchers, and members of the public interested in learning about the past.

The Collections at the National Archives at Boston

The National Archives at Boston holds a diverse array of records, ranging from census data and military records to naturalization documents and photographs. These collections provide a comprehensive view of the social, political, and economic history of New England and the United States.

Census Records

The National Archives at Boston houses census records from 1790 to 1940, allowing researchers to trace the growth and development of the New England region. These records provide valuable information about population trends, economic conditions, and social structures throughout history.

Military Records

The military records housed at the National Archives at Boston cover a wide range of conflicts and engagements, from the Revolutionary War to World War II. These records include muster rolls, pension files, and service records, offering insights into the experiences of soldiers and their families during times of war.

Naturalization Records

For those interested in genealogy and the history of immigration, the National Archives at Boston holds a wealth of naturalization records. These documents can provide information about the backgrounds and experiences of immigrants who came to the United States in search of a better life.

Photographs and Maps

In addition to its vast collection of documents, the National Archives at Boston also houses a significant number of photographs and maps that help to tell the story of the region's past. From historic maps charting the growth of cities and towns to photographs of major events and everyday life, these visual resources offer a unique glimpse into the history of New England and the nation.

Research and Access at the National Archives at Boston

The National Archives at Boston is committed to making its collections accessible to the public. Researchers, students, and history enthusiasts can visit the research room at the National Archives at Boston to access original records and documents. In addition, the National Archives at Boston offers a variety of resources online, including digital copies of select records, research guides, and educational materials.

Research Room

The research room at the National Archives at Boston is open to the public and provides access to the facility's extensive collections. Staff members are on hand to assist visitors with locating records, using finding aids, and handling original documents. To ensure the preservation of these invaluable resources, the National Archives at Boston has established guidelines for handling and using materials within the research room.


Online Resources

Recognizing the importance of digital accessibility, the National Archives at Boston has made significant efforts to digitize and make available a wide range of records and resources online. Through their website, researchers can access digitized documents, photographs, and maps from the comfort of their own homes. These online resources are especially valuable for those unable to visit the physical location in Waltham.

Outreach and Education

The National Archives at Boston is not only dedicated to preserving and providing access to historical records but also to fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation of American history. The facility offers various educational programs, workshops, and exhibitions to engage visitors of all ages. These initiatives aim to promote historical literacy and inspire a passion for learning about the past.

The Importance of the National Archives at Boston

The significance of the National Archives at Boston cannot be overstated. By diligently preserving and maintaining historical records, the institution ensures that future generations have access to authentic and reliable sources for studying and interpreting the past. The documents and artifacts housed at the National Archives at Boston serve as a bridge between the present and the past, shedding light on the events, struggles, and triumphs that have shaped our nation.

Furthermore, the National Archives at Boston plays a crucial role in supporting research, scholarship, and historical inquiry. Historians, genealogists, students, and the general public rely on the National Archives at Boston to provide access to primary sources that help uncover forgotten stories, challenge assumptions, and contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of our shared history.


The National Archives at Boston stands as a beacon of knowledge and preservation, safeguarding our collective heritage and offering valuable insights into the history of the United States. Its collections of records, documents, photographs, and maps provide a window into the past, allowing us to connect with the experiences of those who came before us.

Whether you are a researcher delving into the intricacies of the past, a student seeking to learn about the history of New England, or a curious individual interested in exploring our nation's rich heritage, the National Archives at Boston is a vital resource that should not be overlooked. By boldly preserving America's historical treasures, the National Archives at Boston ensures that the stories of our past remain alive and accessible for generations to come.

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