Acetylation on the tails of histones plays an important role in controlling transcription initiation. Although the steady-state abundances of histone acetyl groups have been reported, the rate at which histones are acetylated and deacetylated on a residuespecific basis has not been quantitatively established. We added [13C]glucose to human cells and monitored the dynamic incorporation of 13C-labeled acetyl groups onto specific histone lysines with quantitative mass spectrometry. We determined the turnover of acetylation to be generally slower than phosphorylation, but fast relative to methylation, and that the rate varied depending on the histone, the residue modified, and also the neighboring modifications. Cells were also treated with a deacetylase inhibitor to determine the rate due to histone acetyltransferase activity alone and in the absence of deacetylase activity. Introduction of 13C-labeled glucose also resulted in the incorporation of 13C into alanine, which allowed us to partition histones into existing and newly synthesized protein categories. Newly synthesized histones were slower to accumulate histone modifications, especially modifications associated with silent chromatin. Finally, we applied our new approaches to find that quiescent fibroblasts exhibited lower levels of labeled acetyl accumulation compared with proliferating fibroblasts. This suggests that acetylation rates can be modulated in cells in different biological states and that these changes can be detected with the approach presented here. The methods we describe can be broadly applied to defining the turnover of histone acetylation in other cell states such as during cellular reprogramming and to quantify non-histone protein acetylation dynamics.