Adams Family Resources

The Adams Family Papers  

Signatures of John, Abigail, and John Quincy AdamsThe Adams Family Papers at the MHS are the most comprehensive and historically complete family collection held by an American cultural institution, public or private. The collection spans the years 1639 to 1889 and consists of the official records and writings of three generations of Adamses. This includes the papers of John and Abigail, John Quincy, Charles Francis, and their extended families. Comprising nearly 300,000 manuscript pages, the materials provide a comprehensive look at major historical events from before the Revolution to the end of the 19th century.

The Adams Papers Editorial Project

Since 1956, we have published over 50 scholarly editions of the personal and public papers of the Adams family of Massachusetts. These family papers were written, accumulated, and preserved over a span of three centuries.

Teacher Resources About the Adams Family

The lesson plans and other resources featured here were developed by the Society’s Swensrud and Adams Teacher Fellows, workshop participants, and MHS Education Department staff members. Each project uses primary sources from the Society's collection.

Adams Timeline

Screenshot of Adams Family TimelineSpanning the years 1735 to 1889, the Adams Timeline is a searchable collection of important events and happenings in the lives of John and Abigail Adams and their immediate family.



Ask the Adams Scholars

Please send all reference queries to

The Adams Papers ... may be rightly described as a national treasure. There is no comparable written record of a prominent American family.

David McCullough, John Adams

Upcoming Events

Teacher Workshop

Monuments & Historical Memory

17Mar 9:00AM 2018
Registration fee: $25 per person

Who decides what should be remembered in public spaces? Is removing a monument the equivalent of erasing history, or should monuments change along with their communities ...

canceled History of Women and Gender Seminar

On Fantasy

20Mar 5:30PM 2018
Location: Fay House, Radcliffe Institute

This program is canceled due to illness. This paper argues that fantasies of racial and gendered mastery—seen in law, racial performance, and sexual violence&mdash ...

Author Talk

People before Highways: Boston Activists, Urban Planners, & A New Movement for City Making

20Mar 6:00PM 2018
There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30.

In 1948, inspired by changes to federal law, Massachusetts officials started to plan highways circling and cutting through the heart of Boston. But when officials began ...

From our Blog

Welcome to Our 2018-2019 MHS-NEH Fellows!

The Massachusetts Historical Society’s Research Department is pleased to announce our two 2018-2019 MHS-NEH Long-Term Fellows, Mara Caden and Brent Sirota. Mara Caden will be researching the ...

From Absolute Monarchy to Absolute Demon: “Identity of Napoleon and ...

As a newer library assistant in the MHS library, I occasionally peruse different subjects in ABIGAIL in the hopes of further familiarizing myself with topics our collections cover. Often, the search ...

Read more from our blog

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