Adams Family Resources

The Adams Family Papers  

Signatures of John, Abigail, and John Quincy 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. This includes the papers of John and Abigail, John Quincy, Charles Francis, and their extended families. Comprising nearly 300,000 manuscript pages, the materials provide a comprehensive look at major historical events from before the Revolution to the end of the 19th century.

The Adams Papers Editorial Project

Since 1956, we have published over 50 scholarly editions of the personal and public papers of the Adams family of Massachusetts. These family papers were written, accumulated, and preserved over a span of three centuries.

Teacher Resources About the Adams Family

The lesson plans and other resources featured here were developed by the Society’s Swensrud and Adams Teacher Fellows, workshop participants, and MHS Education Department staff members. Each project uses primary sources from the Society's collection.

Adams Timeline

Screenshot of Adams Family TimelineSpanning the years 1735 to 1889, the Adams Timeline is a searchable collection of important events and happenings in the lives of John and Abigail Adams and their immediate family.

 

 

Ask the Adams Scholars

Please send all reference queries to adamspapers@masshist.org.

The Adams Papers ... may be rightly described as a national treasure. There is no comparable written record of a prominent American family.

David McCullough, John Adams

Upcoming Events

Author Talk

Under the Starry Flag: How a Band of Irish Americans Joined the Fenian Revolt and Sparked a Crisis ...

24Sep 6:00PM 2018
There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30.

In 1867 forty Irish-American freedom fighters, outfitted with guns and ammunition, sailed to Ireland to join the effort to end British rule. Yet they never got a chance ...

Modern American Society and Culture Seminar

Radical Nonviolence and Interracial Utopias in the Early Civil Rights Movement

25Sep 5:15PM 2018

This paper examines how radical pacifists refined nonviolent direct action to challenge racial segregation and inequality in the United States. These activists adopted ...

Author Talk

Race Over Party: Black Politics and Partisanship in Late Nineteenth-Century Boston

27Sep 6:00PM 2018
There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30.

In late 19th-century Boston, battles over black party loyalty were fights over the place of African Americans in the post–Civil War nation. Party politics became ...

From our Blog

Of Adamses & Ancestry

John A. Grace, Memoranda Respecting the Families of Quincy and Adams, 1841 For historian Henry Adams, the morning mail meant a fresh round of research questions. “Here comes your troublesome ...

Rachel Wall's Confession, the words of a Pirate?

For Talk Like a Pirate Day we bring you the words of a Pirate! The MHS holds an interesting broadside featuring Massachusetts' only female Pirate: Life, last words and dying confession, of ...

Read more from our blog

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