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

Environmental History Seminar

Engineering, Politics, and Dams: John R. Freeman and San Francisco’s Hetch Hetchy Water Supply

12Nov 5:15PM 2019

San Francisco’s Hetch Hetchy Dam sparked one of America’s first great environmental controversies. This paper explores John R. Freeman’s work as a ...

Brown Bag

Staged Readings: Parlor Play and Contesting Class in Nineteenth-Century America

13Nov 12:00PM 2019

This talk focuses on the curious practice of nineteenth-century parlor theatricals in the United States. In the postbellum years, the country’s evolving middle ...

Conversation; Housing as History

Housing as History: the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative and Orchard Gardens

13Nov 6:00PM 2019
There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30.

By the 1980s the Dudley Square neighborhood of Roxbury was facing significant challenges. Absentee landlords had allowed property to deteriorate, left units vacant, or ...

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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