The standard enthalpy of ionization of six titratable histidines in horse metaquomyoglobin was determined by repeating proton NMR titrations as a function of temperature and using the van't Hoff relationship. It was found that deltaH degrees varies between 16 and 37 kJ mol(-1) in the protein, compared with a value of 29 kJ mol(-1) in free histidine. The standard entropy change was evaluated by combining the enthalpy and free energy changes derived from the pKa values. Although the entropy change could not be precisely and accurately obtained by this method, it could be established that it spans a wide range, from -60 to 0 J K(-1) mol(-1), about the value of -23 J K(-1) mol(-1) for the free histidine. The entropy change was used within the framework of enthalpy-entropy compensation to partition the solvation component from the standard thermodynamic quantities for each of the titrating residues. It was shown that the partitioning of the values in the protein is not readily understood in terms of solvent accessibility or electrostatic interactions. The contribution of solvation effects to the temperature response appeared to be significant only in the case of His-119 and His-48. The standard quantities were also used to explore the energetics of proton binding in the native state at temperatures below the onset of thermal denaturation.