John Quincy Adams Turns 250

Celebrate with the MHS this summer!

About John Quincy Adams

Adams House in Quincy, MaThe oldest son of John and Abigail Adams, John Quincy Adams, was born on July 11, 1767, in Quincy, Massachusetts. His early scientific education came from Benjamin Franklin, and he delighted in spending the afternoon reading in Thomas Jefferson’s Parisian residence. He witnessed the Battle of Bunker Hill and served in the House of Representatives with Abraham Lincoln. He observed firsthand Napoleon’s ravages in Europe and dined with Charles Dickens. During his diplomatic career, he served as minister to the Netherlands, Prussia, Russia, and Great Britain. He was a U.S. senator and secretary of state. He remains the only president of the United States to trade the formality of the White House for the melee of the House of Representatives. He walked with monarchs and rejoiced in art by Renaissance masters, yet he relished taking his three sons and twelve nieces and nephews on picnics and fishing trips. He was serving his country by his 14th birthday and continued to do so until dying in the Speaker’s Room in the U.S. Capitol more than six decades later. John Quincy Adams lived one of the most extraordinary lives in American history, and he wrote it all down.

Help make JQA's writings more accessible

From JQA's diary, 1780Now is the time to show your support as 2017 marks three important anniversaries in JQA’s life: his birth on July 11, 1767; his marriage to Louisa Catherine Johnson in London on July 26, 1797; and his becoming secretary of state on September 22, 1817. Your contribution will help fund the Society’s ongoing transcription of his letters and diary, including support for the John Quincy Adams Diary Digital Project to make searchable transcriptions of his diary available online. For more information and to donate, please visit:

Spread the word

Send a birthday greeting and spread the word using #JQA250! Find us at or @JQAdams_MHS

Visit the MHS

A selection of JQA’s letters, diaries, and artifacts will be on display at the MHS this summer. Stop by and learn more about one of America’s great statesmen.

Adams Silhouettes Letter from John Quincy Adams to Abigail Adams, 27 September 1778 Ring with JQA's hair

Upcoming Events

MHS Tour

The History and Collections of the MHS

20Jan 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, ...

History of Women and Gender Seminar

The "Woman Inventor" as a Political Tool of Female Suffragists: Patents, Invention, and Civil Rights ...

23Jan 5:30PM 2018
Location: Massachusetts Historical Society

After the Patent Act of 1790, patents played an important social and political role in the formation of American nationhood and citizenship. Part of a larger book ...


Peter J. Gomes Memorial Book Prize Award & Reception

25Jan 6:00PM 2018
There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30.

Please join us for a special evening in which Tamara Plakins Thornton will receive the 2017 Gomes Prize for Nathaniel Bowditch and the Power of Numbers: How a 19th ...

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