Welcome to The Military Historical Society of Massachusetts

The Military Historical Society of Massachusetts, founded in 1876 by John Codman Ropes, is the nation's oldest incorporated military history society. The Society's purpose is to sponsor, support and encourage the study of military history through our lecture series, annual ROTC essay contest, selected grants, donations, scholarships, and battlefield preservation. Lectures throughout the year feature veterans, guest speakers, and historians discussing their specific area of personal experience or study. The Society's manuscript and book archive housed at Boston University is a major source of primary research.


To become a member of the Society, please complete the application form and submit the form by mail to: Military Historical Society of Massachusetts, Post Office Box 308, State House, Boston, MA 02133 or by email at: MHSM1876@gmail.com

As with the Society's founder John Codman Ropes, members are not required to be a veteran. The membership rolls list many "Civilians" such as Ropes and Senator Henry Cabot Lodge alongside veterans such as General William T. Sherman, General Joshua L. Chamberlain, Lt. General James Longstreet, Assistant Secretary of the Navy Gustavus V. Fox, Admiral George Dewey, and General George C. Marshall to name a few.

Archives and Library

A listing of past activities, summaries of speaker presentations and photographs are available.

In the1890's, one of the stated purposes of the Society was "the establishment of a reading room and library devoted to" military history. This was accomplished when the Cadet Armory was built (as is described under the origins and background of the Society. The reading room and library were maintained until the Armory was sold in the 1960's. The library and manuscript collection is now on permanent loan to the Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center at Boston University. Read more about the collection | Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center

2015 Contest Winner Announced

2015 Essay Competition Photo: Ron Partnoy and Richard Simons presenting winning essayist Cadet Jocelyn Bly
with a check for her winning essay


2015 Essay Contest Winner: Cadet Jocelyn Bly.
Read winning essay!


Cadet Jocelyn Bly is a third year cadet at Air Force ROTC Detachment 355. A junior at Boston University, she originally hails from Holden, MA. Cadet Bly studies International Relations with concentrations in Foreign Policy and Security Studies and Africa and the Middle East. She is on track to commission in May 2016 and will be pursuing a slot as an Air Battle Manager.

Here is a listing of past essay contest winners and links to their essays and biographies.


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