Brinkler Library rules for the use of materials

The Brinkler Library is open to researchers by appointment with at least one week's notice. Please call 617-547-4252 to schedule your visit.

Before beginning research, please:

Sign in using the log sheet.

Read the following rules and procedures regarding use of archival materials.

Note that food and drinks may not be consumed in the Brinkler Library.

When visiting the library

Only pencils may be used in the library. Pencils are available.

Handle all collection items with care. Regardless of age, each item is unique, important and often irreplaceable.

Researchers examining photographs, and certain maps, books and papers must wear gloves. Gloves are available from staff.

Please keep all material in the same order as you received it. The arrangement of archival records is often as important as the information they contain. If something appears to be out of order or in need of repair, please tell the staff.

Do not try to rearrange, repair, or remove items.

Please close box lids while examining individual folders or loose objects from a box. Please leave all items used on the table. Staff will return all items to bookshelves and files.


Researchers may not personally photocopy collection items. The staff will photocopy items and only if copying will not damage items. Copying is up to the discretion of staff. Charges are $.30 per page.


By signing in at the Brinkler Library, a researcher agrees to cite the Cambridge Historical Society in any footnotes, bibliographies, captions to photographs, museum labels, or acknowledgment frames in films, videos, slideshows, and on web sites.

Reproduction Policies

The Brinkler Library at the Hooper-Lee-Nichols House includes in its holdings books, maps, newspapers, periodicals, published and unpublished documents, photographs, and drawings, plus a vast array of other historical records.

Please note that the Historical Society archives contain some images that do not belong to the Historical Society, but to other organizations. The staff will identify such images, but it is the responsibility of the user to obtain reproduction permission from these other organizations.

There are no fees for images for personal (including reference, home display, or personal gift, but excluding personal web sites) and academic uses (including dissertation, thesis, class presentation, publication, publication in a scholarly journal, or any academic publication that is not for sale).

Nonprofit and government organizations or agencies will not be charged a fee, nor will commercial organizations or individuals doing pro bono work for government agencies. However, users in all categories, except personal, must obtain permission to use the images.

Patrons who wish to publish or display photographs from the Historical Society's archive must receive permission to use. The patron should first submit their request in writing, including details about how the image will be used.

In making a request for photographs, the patron should be as specific as possible. If the request is for an illustration from a Historical Society publication, page and figure numbers should be given. If the patron submits an extremely general request, such as for "Children in Harvard Square," or "horse cars in Cambridge," which requires the  staff to conduct a file search, the search will be performed at the discretion of the staff. Long  lists or nonspecific requests cannot be accommodated.

The fee for file searches is $10 per hour, with no charge for the first half-hour. Search times and estimated fees will be discussed.

All fees must be paid in advance.

The user must sign a Reproduction and Usage Agreement and follow its requirements.

The images obtained from the Historical Society may not be altered or manipulated beyond the requirements of normal image enhancement or cropping. Nothing will be done to change the integrity of the image.

The image(s) may be stored electronically for this use only.

The Cambridge Historical Society credit line must appear on or near each image reproduced, in a manner accessible to the public. If the image is part of a special collection or if the photographer's name is known, that information must appear as well. Credit lines will be supplied by the Historical Society.

Fees are per image for a one time, one project use, for North American rights. For worldwide rights, this fee will be doubled.

The Historical Society does not offer exclusive rights to any user, publisher, author, or photographer, and assumes no responsibility for duplication of subjects by others or any responsibility for claims by third parties.

In consideration of the Historical Society's furnishing of an image, the publisher/user agrees to defend, fully indemnify, and hold harmless the Historical Society or its employees from and against any and all claims, actions, liabilities, expense, losses or damages (including but not limited to any based on libel, slander or on rights of privacy or of publicity or on infringement of copyright or other literary or artistic rights claimed by others, irrespective of whether such claim arises out of any act or omission of the publisher/user or any act or omission of any independent contractor having a contract with the publisher/user) including reasonable attorney's fees, arising out of the use, publication, distribution, exhibition or dissemination of any or all said photographs by the publisher/user or his or her agents or employees.

The Historical Society requests that at least one copy of any publication containing reproductions of its photographs be presented to the Historical Society without charge. The above considerations apply equally to images to be used on-line.

Payment of the reproduction/usage fee entitles the user to use the image at a specified site only. The user is prohibited from transmitting the image to another site without the knowledge or permission of the Cambridge Historical Society.

Images must be scanned in at a low resolution to prevent printing of high quality copies. Details should be discussed with Historical Society staff.

Images may be downloaded to a printer by the user for individual use only, not for resale.

Usage Fees

All fees must be paid in advance. Please pay via our PayPal under Donate
or via credit card. Checks should be made out to Cambridge Historical Society and mailed to 159 Brattle Street
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138.

Fees are per image, for one time, one project, and North American rights. For worldwide rights, the fees will be doubled.

No fees for personal use

There is no fee for personal use, including reference, home display, or personal gift. However, if the patron wishes to use an image on a personal web site, the project should be discussed with the Historical Society staff. A fee may be applicable.

Internet Use

Web site display, $25 per image. Images may be used online only at the discretion of the Historical Society. Not all Historical Society images are available for Internet use. Please discuss options with the staff.



Photocopies materials are made at the discretion of the staff, dependent on the condition of the materials.

Photocopies are $0.50 per page, additional charge for postage if being mailed.

Digital Images

With existing digital master: $25
Imaged from the original: $40


Academic Use

There is no fee for academic use, which includes: dissertation, thesis, class presentation, publication in a scholarly journal, or any academic publication that is not for sale.

Nonprofit Use

There is no fee for nonprofit use by nonprofit organizations. Fees may be reduced for both nonprofit by commercial organizations and for commercial use by nonprofit organizations.

Government Organizations

There is no usage fee for agencies of the federal, state, or municipal governments of the United States or for commercial organizations or individuals doing pro bono work for government agencies.

Book Publication

Press run of 5,000 or less: $25 per image
Press run of more than 5,000: $50 per image
Book cover illustration: $150 per image

Note: If multiple images from more than one source are used in a cover illustration, it may be possible to reduce the fee in proportion to the size of the Historical Society image as it appears on the cover. For example, if the image covers roughly half the cover along with an illustration from another source, the fee may be reduced to $75.

Magazine Publication

Article or editorial illustration: $25 per image
Magazine cover: $250 per image
Book cover illustration: $150 per image


Newspaper Publication

Article illustration: $15 per image
Full page illustration: $30 per image
Print Advertisement (newspaper and magazine):
Half-page or smaller: $200 per image
Full-page: $500 per image


Corporate Publication

Internal publication with internal circulation only: $20 per image
External publication: $30 per image

Note: Internal publications include training manuals, internal memoranda, employee newsletters, etc.; external publications include annual reports, company histories, etc.


Commercial Decoration

Public spaces (restaurant, corporate lobby, etc.): $50 per image
Private offices: $20 per image


Television Broadcast and Home Video Production

Network and cable broadcast: $50 per image
Local or public television broadcast: $20 per image
Home video (for sale): $50 per image

Miscellaneous Uses

Pamphlet or handout publications: $20 per image
Posters - for sale: $500 per image
Posters – promotional: $250 per image
Post cards - less than 500: $50 per image
Post cards - 500-999: $250 per image; 1000 or more: $500 per image
Greeting cards - less than 500: $50 per image; 500-999: $250 per image; 1000 or more: $500 per image
Calendars - less than 500: $50 per image; 500-999: $75 per image; 1000 or more: $150 per image

Images Burned to a CD

The cost to burn a CD depends on the number of images being copied and the use of those images. There is a base cost of $5 for time and effort to burn the CD but individuals should be in contact with our archives for an idea of the cost.

Volume Fee Reduction

With a request for the use of more than ten images in a single project, a reduction in fees per image of up to 35% may be granted. This must be agreed upon before the photo order is finalized.

Compounding Fees

Note: Researching, imaging, and usage fees all compound.