Last updated: 11/30/2013
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Street Address
159 Brattle Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
Mailing Address
Cambridge, MA 02138
CHS offices
Monday - Friday10 AM - 6 PM
Hooper-Lee-Nichols House
open for tours
Monday, Wednesday12 PM - 6 PM
or by appointment.
Gift Shop
Online Gift Shop
Special Event Rental
Group Tours
Richard (Tod) Beaty, President
phone: 617-547-4252

We are Cambridge history. We inspire interest in and enthusiasm for the Cambridge experience; its changing landscapes and neighborhoods; its workers and thinkers; its daily life and innovative contributions to the nation. We are a resource for everyone who wants to know about Cambridge and its history. We collect and preserve Cambridge history in many forms and seek to make it widely available through exhibits; online communities; access to our archives and collections; vibrant public programs; and publications.

Renting the HLN House

The Hooper-Lee-Nichols House is one of the oldest houses in Cambridge, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Built in 1685 and transformed into a Georgian mansion in the 1730s, the house is an architectural and social history treasure. The Cambridge Historical Society makes the house available for rental on a limited basis in order to raise money for its upkeep, and to further introduce people to its history. We hope you will appreciate the Society’s need to keep rental activities within certain parameters, in order to preserve the Hooper-Lee- Nichols House for the future.


The Cambridge Historical Society has been a repository of history and culture for over 100 years. We are a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting an interest in all aspects of the history and heritage of Cambridge.


Founded in 1905 by a group of historians, the Historical Society initially met in private homes and presented lectures on Cambridge history. Beginning in 1906, these lectures were published as The Proceedings. A short time later the Society began collecting books, documents, significant papers and photographs.

Since 1957 the Cambridge Historical Society has been headquartered at the Hooper-Lee-Nichols House at 159 Brattle Street. Many activities take place there. We invite you to become a member of the Society and join us in preserving Cambridge's history and heritage.


The Brinkler Research Library

The Brinkler Research Library's archival holdings include books, maps, newspapers, periodicals, broad sheets, published and unpublished documents, a photo archive and drawings. The library also contains published family and town histories, city directories and published town reports.

The Cambridge Historical Society acts as a living repository for Cambridge's tradition and history. It maintains any property entrusted to it and collects, preserves, and interprets items of historical and antiquarian significance.

The Historical Society encourages research and involvement in these efforts by its members and the community at large. In doing so it promotes a better understanding of history as an important factor in the everyday affairs of the City and its residents.

The Brinkler Library is open to researchers by appointment. Please call 617 547-4252 to schedule your visit. For questions about collections, donations, and requests for reproduction from the collection, send email to

Access: General Public, Students, Scholars, Members

Appointment required: Yes


Just one of our many great books available online!

Self Guided Walking Tour

Enjoy three self guided walking tours of Cambridge: Utterly Harvard Square, Revolutionary Cambridge, and Historic Tory Row. The Utterly Harvard Square tour is a light hearted look at some of the Squares iconic locations and quirky treasures. The Revolutionary Cambridge tour explores the city’s role on the cutting edge of American society, both at the end of the 18th century and throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. Finally, the largest tour is of the Historic Tory Row, this includes the seven Tory Row mansions but also has stops for many of the grand homes along Brattle Street and on some of the neighboring streets.



If coming to programs at the Hooper-Lee-Nichols House on Sunday, parking is permitted along Brattle Street. During the week, parking on Brattle and neighboring streets is Cambridge Resident Permit only. If you do not have a Cambridge permit, please contact the CHS office (617-547-4252) to discuss options.


Gift Shop

Online Gift Shop

Special Event Rental

Group Tours

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Charles Town, West Virginia

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