Presidential Papers

The Massachusetts Historical Society holds the papers of John Adams and John Quincy Adams, and the largest collection of Thomas Jefferson’s private papers, in addition to many other valuable presidential papers and artifacts from throughout United States history. In addition, the Society is home to letters written by every U.S. president from George Washington through George H. W. Bush.

Adams Family Resources

Portrait of John 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, including John and Abigail Adams and their extended families.

Thomas Jefferson Papers

engraving of Thomas JeffersonThe Coolidge Collection of Thomas Jefferson Manuscripts contains almost 9,000 pages of correspondence, personal manuscript volumes including his library catalog, and more than 400 architectural drawings.

Other Presidential Papers

Engraving of Abraham LincolnIn addition to major collections of papers of John and John Quincy Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the MHS also holds hundreds of letters written by every U.S. president through George H.W. Bush. See the Guide to Presidential Letters at the Massachusetts Historical Society

Upcoming Events

Online Event; Conversation

Jefferson: Then and Now

29Oct 5:30PM 2020
This is an online program

The reputations of all of the founders have changed dramatically over the course of American history, none more than that of Thomas Jefferson. Historians Annette Gordon ...

African American History Seminar; Online Event

Success to the Literary Society! Black Male Youth Organizing in Early Nineteenth-Century Boston

5Nov 5:15PM 2020
This is an online program

In 1841, a dozen or so African American male youth aged twelve to sixteen established the Young Men’s Literary Society in Boston with the stated aim to promote ...

Teacher Workshop

Legislating the Environment: Teaching Environmental History and Civics

7Nov 9:30AM 2020
$25 Registration Fee

In partnership with the Tsongas Industrial History Center, we will explore the intersections of environmental history, science, and engineering. Chad Montrie, Professor ...

From our Blog

This Week @MHS

Join us for a program this week! Here is a look at what is going on: - Tuesday, 29 January, 5:15 PM: Better Teaching through Technology, 1945-1969, with Victoria Cain, Northeastern ...

Founder to Founder

Like so many good stories here at the Historical Society, it began with a reference question. Jeremy Belknap, hunting through his sources, asked Vice President John Adams for some help. Belknap, the ...

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