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Adams Family Papers : An Electronic Archive

About John and Abigail Adams

"Last Night 3 Cargoes of Bohea Tea were emptied into the Sea. This Morning a Man of War sails. This is the most magnificent Movement of all. There is a Dignity, a Majesty, a Sublimity, in this last Effort of the Patriots, that I greatly admire."
John Adams, Diary 19, entry for 17 December 1773
from Adams Family Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society.

John Adams and Abigail Adams are two significant figures of the American Revolutionary Era. John Adams (1735-1826) spent much of his life in service to his country. He was a delegate to the Continental Congress, an officially appointed diplomat (who served as a commissioner in France, Great Britain, and the Netherlands, and minister to the Court of St. James), and president of the United States. Abigail (Smith) Adams (1744-1818), did not have a formal education, but proved to be an extremely resourceful partner to John Adams (they were married in 1764). While he was away on numerous political assignments, she raised their children, managed their farm, and stayed abreast of current events during one of the country's most turbulent times. The many letters she sent to John Adams demonstrate her perceptive comments about the Revolution and contain vivid depictions of the Boston area.

Biographical sketches

For biographical sketches of John Adams (1735-1826) and Abigail Adams (1744-1818) please refer to the Adams Biographical Sketches section of the Adams Papers Editorial Project website.

Writings of John Adams featured on the Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive website

This website features images and transcriptions of letters, diaries and an autobiography written by John Adams. John and Abigail Adams exchanged over 1,100 letters, beginning during their courtship in 1762 and continuing throughout John's political career until 1801, the final year of his presidency. For more information about the letters (totaling 740) John sent to Abigail Adams, including links to browseable lists, please refer to the Correspondence between John and Abigail Adams section of this website.

During much of his life, John Adams kept a series of small manuscript volumes in which he described both daily activities and notable events. The 51 manuscript gatherings include about 1,900 pages of diary entries and date from 1753 to 1804 (with gaps). The volumes contain personal diary entries, financial accounts, copies of letters, drafts of essays and notes on books and legal cases. For more information about the diaries of John Adams, including links to browseable lists, please refer to the Diary of John Adams section of this website.

Between 1802 and 1807 John Adams wrote a 440-page retrospective narrative of his life describing his youth and legal training through the events that occurred during spring of 1780 when he was in the midst of his second diplomatic assignment in Europe. The work is divided into three sections: "John Adams," "Travels, and Negotiations," and "Peace" and ends somewhat abruptly. For more information about the autobiography of John Adams, including links to browseable lists of the three sections, please refer to the Autobiography of John Adams section of this website.

Writings of Abigail Adams featured on the Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive website

This website features images and transcriptions of 419 letters, written by Abigail (Smith) Adams to her husband, John Adams. They exchanged over 1,100 letters, beginning during their courtship in 1762 and continuing throughout John's political career until 1801, the final year of his presidency. For more information about the correspondence John sent to Abigail Adams, including links to browseable lists, please refer to the Correspondence between John and Abigail Adams section of this website.

Adams family timeline

To examine a timeline spanning the years 1735 to 1889 about John Adams, Abigail Adams, and their family, please refer to the Adams Time Line, a section of the Adams Papers Editorial Project website.