spacer graphic

Microtext Department

Boylston Room, 2nd Floor, McKim Building, Central Library
Contact via 617-536-5400

spacer graphic

About the Microtext Department

The Microtext Department holds the major part of the Boston Public Library's holdings of microfilm, microfiche, and microprint. The Department's holdings include roughly 163,000 rolls of microfilm, 2.5 million microfiche, and 6,345 boxes of microprint.

The Department's holdings are based on format. The subject areas covered by the Department overlap the coverage of other departments. The Department's holdings complement and supplement the holdings of the subject-based departments.

Among the Department's holdings are:

  • biographical dictionaries
  • business and trade directories
  • census population schedules for New England
  • ERIC
  • genealogy and local history
  • immigration passenger lists
  • newspapers, with a concentration on Massachusetts newspapers
  • presidential papers
  • regimental histories of the American Civil War
  • retrospective collections of American, British and Canadian publications
  • Sanborn Fire Insurance Atlases
  • United States city directories
  • compiled collections of:

Interlibrary Loan Policy for Microforms

We will loan many of our microfilms via Interlibrary Loan (available through your local library); however, most Massachusetts newspapers are unavailable for loan due to their high use in the library. There may be exceptions in cases where we have a duplicate copy, and for non-English titles. We recommend you ask.

We do not loan microfiche.

About the Obituary Database

The Obituary Database is an index of obituaries that appeared in the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald. Currently, this database includes obituaries published between 1953 and 2010.

If you cannot find who you are looking for in the Obituary Database, there could be several possibilities:

  1. The person did not have a full length obituary. Most of the deceased have only death notices, which are not part of this database.
  2. The date may not have been entered into the database (dates included: 1953 to 2010). To find an obituary for dates not covered in this database, consult a member of the Research Services Department staff.

If you have any problems, feel free to consult a member of the Research Services Department staff at the Boston Public Library. The phone number is: 617-536-5400.

spacer graphic

spacer graphic

Newspapers on Microfilm

Newspaper Directories Online

Genealogy and Family History Resources (Social Sciences Department, Boston Public Library)

Search the BPL's Obituary Index Database

For department updates visit the Research Services Facebook page Facebook

spacer graphic
spacer graphic
spacer graphic