History

Archive Project

The Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Archives project is dedicated to preserving and protecting all material in its possession related to its rich history.

The MSPCA Archives project is dedicated to preserving a unique story - one not told anywhere else. The Archives also provides access for research purposes and cultivates financial support to enable further growth of the collection. The Archives are an irreplaceable source of information about the history of the humane movement, the city of Boston, the state of Massachusetts, and society at large. The MSPCA is committed to preserving this unique story to share with future generations.

PRESERVING OUR HISTORY

Begun in the mid-1800s, the American animal-protection and humane-education movement grew alongside other social-reform movements, such as abolition, suffrage, and child welfare. The struggle over these issues changed our social fabric as surely as did the industrial revolution. Their history is integral to 19th- and 20th-century American life. The MSPCA and the AHES, founded by world-renowned humanitarian George Thorndike Angell in 1868 and 1889 respectively, have been at the forefront of the humane movement for nearly 145 years.

Our early publications, original documents, law enforcement records, photos, works of art, mementos, and other historic items tell a story not compiled elsewhere. The purpose of the MSPCA Archives is to catalog and preserve these materials and to make them accessible for research and other uses. These two organizations are officially merged and known as the MSPCA.

THE ARCHIVES MISSION

The Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Archives is dedicated to preserving and protecting all material in its possession related to the rich history of this organization.

The Archives also provides access for research purposes and cultivates financial support to enable further growth of the collection.

THE ARCHIVES COLLECTION

Items in the MSPCA Archives collection include:

  • Autographs of famous and historic figures, such as U.S. presidents
  • Photographs relating to the humane movement
  • Antique magic-lantern slides
  • A stained-glass window depicting St. Francis of Assisi
  • Original scrapbooks of George T. Angell
  • Oil paintings
  • A rare, limited-edition Howard clock, manufactured in Boston in the 1870s
  • Articles and engravings from the MSPCA publication, Our Dumb Animals, the oldest humane publication in the U.S.
  • Medals awarded to children for poster contests
  • Original minutes of the MSPCA/AHES Board of Directors meetings from 1868 to the present

For questions about the Archives, please contact us at (617) 541-5005, jholmquist@mspca.org.

While the MSPCA is in its second century, efforts to research, catalog, and preserve the history of the humane movement are very new. Regrettably, many items that constitute this history have been lost. While dollars are essential, your assistance is also needed to locate items relevant to our history. If you have items of historical significance to the MSPCA, please contact Jan Holmquist at (617) 541-5005, 350 South Huntington Ave., Boston, MA 02130, jholmquist@mspca.org.

The Archives relies on individual contributions and foundation grants. All financial contributions are used directly for preservation, restoration, and acquisition of relevant archival items - not for salaries or administrative costs.