Home > Collections & History > Research Library

Research Library

photo of semml reading roomClick on a link below to jump to a section, or scroll down to learn more about our collection, facilities, and policies.

Visit Us
Research Assistance
On-Site Use of the Collections
Rights and Reproductions
Fees for Service

Samuel Eliot Morison Memorial Library

"The document collection at the USS Constitution Museum is unparalleled in America for the specificity of its focus yet the breadth of it impact. It tells the story of one ship, but that ship is a remarkable vehicle for exploring, explaining, and understanding the American experience." ~ William Martin, author

The Samuel Eliot Morison Memorial Library holds a strong collection of primary documents and secondary works related to USS Constitution. The Library’s resources are useful to historians, educators, and ship modelers, with limited genealogical information. The 2,000-volume library includes general maritime titles, local and federal period history, and books about USS Constitution, the US Navy, and the US Marine Corps. The Library also houses over 300 rolls of microfilm, containing primary source material from the National Archives, Library of Congress, and manuscript repositories across the country.

The manuscript collection is comprised of ship’s logbooks, journals and personal correspondence of USS Constitution's crew; early nineteenth century newspapers; historic and contemporary photographs; modern copies of maintenance reports; twentieth century restoration records and deck logs. Explore our collections!

Visit Us

The Samuel Eliot Morison Memorial Library is open to the public Monday through Friday 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. by appointment. Researchers interested in using the Library should contact the archivist at least one week in advance by email at Library@ussconstitutionmuseum.org, or by telephone at 617-426-1812, ext. 118.

Research Assistance

Some ready reference questions may be answered through the Frequently Asked Questions section.

Patrons may request research assistance for all other questions. Please read the following guidelines before requesting assistance.

  • Email a written research request following our guidelines
  • Fees for Service vary. Prepayment is required.
  • Requests are handled on a first-come, first-served basis and may take up to four weeks.
  • Staff will conduct a maximum of six hours of research per request.

Back to top

On-Site Use of the Collections

All researchers visiting the Samuel Eliot Morison Memorial Library are expected to adhere to all guidelines and/or restrictions imposed by the Museum.

  1. Researchers must complete a user registration form and present photo identification before accessing material.
  2. All materials must be used in the Samuel Eliot Morison Memorial Library. Reference material located in the reading room may be retrieved by patrons, however, this material is non-circulating and may not leave the Library. Unsupervised use of the collections is not allowed.
  3. Researchers may bring laptops, digital cameras or camera-enabled devices, loose-leaf paper, and pencils into the reading room. Audible features on all devices must be turned off. Portable scanning devices, notebooks, and pens are not permitted. Lockers and a coat closet are available to store bags, purses, coats, and other personal items.
  4. Food, drink, and smoking are not permitted in the reading room.
  5. Library staff will photocopy and scan materials upon request, for a fee, if in accordance with donor agreements and copyright restrictions. Reproduction of fragile materials in the Museum's collections is at the discretion of the Curatorial Department. The Museum reserves the right to refuse any request.
  6. Unprocessed collections will not be made available to researchers. The Museum's Curatorial Department may restrict access to certain materials or collections if objects are in fragile condition, contain sensitive personal information, or are otherwise restricted by the Museum, by donor agreements, or by the object's creator.

Back to top

Rights and Reproduction

For information on obtaining images, text, and multimedia from the Museum's collections for commercial use, publication, public display, or licensing agreements, please visit the Rights and Reproductions and the Fees for Service pages and submit a written request to library@ussconstitutionmuseum.org. Permission requests must include a description of the item to be reproduced, along with the following information:

  • Format (e.g. book, exhibition, article, etc)
  • Publisher
  • Title of publication/work
  • Author
  • Language
  • Edition
  • Quantity
  • Publication date (known or anticipated)

Back to top