Research Library Copyright and Use


United States Copyright law governs the making and use of copies and other reproductions of copyrighted materials, both published and unpublished. Please note that most unpublished materials created within the last 120 years are protected under copyright law. The nature of our collections means that copyright status and information on copyright holders can be difficult to determine. The Nantucket Historical Association claims only physical ownership of most of its materials, and it is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain permissions from the copyright holder.


Accurate and complete citations allow other researchers to locate primary source materials as well to verify your quotations. Please do not hesitate to email us with specific questions about citations at

Materials Citation

Please use the following basic format when citing materials held in the Nantucket Historical Association Research Library:

[Identification of item] in [Name of collection], Nantucket Historical Association.

You may also wish to include the box number or folder titles as appropriate.

Images Citation

When utilizing images from our collection we ask that you include the following information in your caption:

Photo by [Name of Photographer (if known)], courtesy of the Nantucket Historical Association, [Image Number].



If the materials you wish to use are not in the public domain and the Nantucket Historical Association does not hold the copyright, you will need to contact the current copyright holder to request permission to use the material.

Library staff are unable to assist with obtaining copyright permissions that the NHA does not own. It is your responsibility to determine the copyright status of the materials you wish to use and pursue permission.

The Nantucket Historical Association will grant permission for exhibition, broadcast, or publication of collection materials in accordance with the following conditions:

  • Any permission granted by the NHA will fully comply with the limitations and strictures imposed by copyright and the donor of the materials.
  • This permission is valid only insofar as the Nantucket Historical Association, as owner or custodian of the material, has any rights in the matter. This permission does not remove the responsibility of the author, editor, publisher, or broadcaster to guard against infringement of any rights, including copyright that may be held by others.
  • Permission to reproduce images requires application and is nontransferable.
  • Permission to reproduce is nonexclusive; the NHA reserves its own right to publish material as well as its right to allow others to do so.
  • Permission for public use is contingent on materials being properly cited and identified. See the “Citations” section above for more details.
  • To obtain permission, you must submit a written request to with the completed request form. Your request will be reviewed and answered in the order that it was received.
  • We will not sign outside contracts or publisher-generated permission forms. Permission to publish will be granted and recorded only in a letter composed and signed by us.
  • We reserve the right to refuse to grant permission to publish.


The following uses are exempt from the formal permissions process:

  • Academic assignments, lectures, and presentation.
    • This exemption includes dissertations and theses; however, if you choose to publish your dissertation or thesis in the future, the formal licensing process will be necessary.
  • Approved press requests. Please contact the Director of Marketing at
  • Use of images available through the NHA collections catalog on freely accessible, non-subscription webpages and in the social media environment.

In these circumstances, although permission is not required for use, proper citation is. We ask that you please use the following credit line:

Photo by [Name of Photographer (if known)], courtesy of the Nantucket Historical Association, [Image Number].


The Nantucket Historical Association preserves and interprets the history of Nantucket through its programs, collections, and properties, in order to promote the island’s significance and foster an appreciation of it among all audiences.

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