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Official Symbols of Massachusetts
Massachusetts’ Historical Societies
Governors of Massachusetts
Massachusetts’ Famous Firsts
History in the State House
Boston History and Architecture



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"I shall enter on no encomium upon Massachusetts; she needs none. There she is. Behold her, and judge for yourselves. There is her history; the world knows it by heart. The past, at least, is secure. There is Boston and Concord and Lexington and Bunker Hill; and there they will remain forever."  Image of the Massachusett's State Flag.  Click on the image to view the facts page.
Daniel Webster, 1830
Massachusetts is a state of great history, progress, and innovation. The contributions of Massachusetts’ natives John Hancock, John Adams, William Lloyd Garrison, Susan B. Anthony, John F. Kennedy, and Tip O’Neill have shaped the country’s basic foundations and freedoms, defining the United States and what it means to be an American.

Massachusetts was one of the original 13 colonies. It became the sixth state to join the Union on February 6, 1788. Boston, the capital, was founded in 1630. Among many firsts, the nation’s first free public school was established in Dorchester in 1639 and America’s first public library was founded in Boston in 1653. Sgt. William Carney of New Bedford became the first African American recipient of the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions in the July 18, 1863 Union siege on Fort Wagner as part of Company C of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry, one of the nation’s first African American Civil War regiments. American writing and thought was profoundly shaped by Bay Staters including William Cullen Bryant, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Emily Dickinson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Edgar Allan Poe, Henry David Thoreau, Louisa May Alcott, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., W.E.B. Dubois, Sylvia Plath, and Jack Kerouac. The Commonwealth was, and continues to be, a cradle of innovation. The first telephone was tested in Boston by Alexander Graham Bell; the inventor of the Morse Code, Samuel Morse, hailed from Charlestown; Elias Howe invented the sewing machine in Boston, igniting a spark of the industrial revolution; the first liquid fuel rocket was launched in Auburn by Dr. Robert Goddard; and, Massachusetts continues to lead the nation in biomedical research and technological innovation.

Enjoy reading the following pages about Massachusetts’ history and some of the great things that the Commonwealth has to offer.