Rules for the Use of Materials

The Brinkler Library is open to researchers by appointment with at least one week’s notice. Please email or 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. Please see the Usage Fees page for reproduction fees.

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.
Preferred citation: “Courtesy of the Cambridge Historical Society, [Collection Name], [Item number]. Cambridge, MA.”

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.

All fees must be paid in advance.

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
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