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

Author Talk

Black Flags, Blue Waters: The Epic History of America's Most Notorious Pirates

19Nov 6:00PM 2018
There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30

Set against the backdrop of the Age of Exploration, Black Flags, Blue Waters reveals the dramatic history of American piracy’s “Golden Age”&mdash ...

postponed Brown Bag

The American Debates over the China Relief Expedition of 1900

21Nov 12:00PM 2018

This talk examines the American debates over the country’s participation in the eight-nation alliance to relieve the Chinese Boxers’ siege of internationals ...

Modern American Society and Culture Seminar

In Search of the Costs of Segregation

27Nov 5:15PM 2018

Historians generally treat Jim Crow as a legal, political, and cultural system shaping where African Americans went, whether they voted, and how they acted. Yet it was ...

From our Blog

Women at Sea: Ann Johnson and Abbie Clifford

In 1849, the ship Lanerk sailed from Boston to California as part of the Gold Rush. On the ship was a clergyman named Truman Ripley Hawley, and the MHS recently acquired a transcript of his diary of ...

Barbara Hillard Smith’s Diary, November 1918

Today we return to the 1918 diary of Newton teenager Barbara Hillard Smith. You may read our introduction to the diary, and Barbara’s previous entries, here: January | February  ...

Read more from our blog

Have you seen?