Adams Papers Editorial Project

President John F. Kennedy on the Adams Papers Editorial Project: "...it serves as a most valuable chronicle of a long series of lives which stretch down to the present date. And therefore this formidable record of a formidable family deserves the kind of great editorial support which it is now receiving."

Project History

The Adams Papers project was founded in 1954 to prepare a comprehensive published edition of the manuscripts written and received by the family of John Adams of Quincy, Massachusetts. The Adams Family Papers manuscript collection at the Massachusetts Historical Society forms the nucleus of the project. In addition, the editors have gathered over 27,000 copies of Adams items from hundreds of libraries, institutions, and individuals in the United States and abroad. The project's cut-off date is 1889, the year Abigail Brooks Adams died.

Editorial Process

The editors do not alter the Adamses' words; rather, they continue the search for Adams documents, select the material to be included in the edition, provide a faithful transcription of the manuscripts, and supply annotation. To date, over 50 volumes have been published by Harvard University Press and are now available online as part of the Adams Papers Digital Edition.

Funders

The Adams Papers was funded originally by Time-Life Inc. and the Ford Foundation. At present funding is provided primarily by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Packard Humanities Institute, with additional funding from The Florence Gould Foundation and private donors. Over the years supporters have also included the Lyn and Norman Lear Fund, The J. Howard Pew Freedom Trust, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and The Charles E. Culpepper Foundation through the Founding Families Papers, Inc.

Contact Information

If you have questions regarding the collection or the editorial project, please contact us:

     The Adams Papers
     Massachusetts Historical Society
     1154 Boylston Street
     Boston, MA 02215
     Tel: 617-536-1608

     adamspapers@masshist.org

John Quincy Adams designed and used this acorn and oak leaf seal after 1830. The motto is from Cæcilius Statius as quoted by Cicero in the First Tusculan Disputation: Serit arbores quœ alteri seculo prosint ("He plants trees for the benefit of late generations").

 

 

Upcoming Events

History of Women and Gender Seminar

Transgender History and Archives: An Interdisciplinary Conversation

18Dec 5:30PM 2018
Location: Knafel Center, Radcliffe Institute

This panel aims to begin an interdisciplinary conversation in transgender history. What is the state of the field of transgender studies in history, archiving, and public ...

MHS Tour

The History and Collections of the MHS

22Dec 10:00AM 2018

The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a 90-minute docent-led walk through our public rooms. The tour is free, open to the public, ...

Early American History Seminar

The Consecration of Samuel Seabury and the Crisis of Atlantic Episcopacy, 1782-1807

8Jan 5:15PM 2019

Samuel Seabury’s consecration in 1784 signaled a transformation in the organization of American Protestantism. After more than a century of resistance to the office ...

From our Blog

This Week @MHS

It is our last week of programming at the MHS for 2018. Join us for a seminar, a Saturday tour, or stop by to see our current exhibition. - Tuesday, 18 December, 5:30 PM: Transgender History ...

“On the Borders of Nonsense”: John Quincy Adams, Poet

It was a rainy day in May 1839 and John Quincy Adams, stuck inside, was amusing himself writing poetry. He was trying to imitate the Roman poet Horace, and outdo the English poet Alexander Pope. ...

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