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

History of Women and Gender Seminar

Transgender History and Archives: An Interdisciplinary Conversation

18Dec 5:30PM 2018
Location: Knafel Center, Radcliffe Institute

This panel aims to begin an interdisciplinary conversation in transgender history. What is the state of the field of transgender studies in history, archiving, and public ...

MHS Tour

The History and Collections of the MHS

22Dec 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, ...

Early American History Seminar

The Consecration of Samuel Seabury and the Crisis of Atlantic Episcopacy, 1782-1807

8Jan 5:15PM 2019

Samuel Seabury’s consecration in 1784 signaled a transformation in the organization of American Protestantism. After more than a century of resistance to the office ...

From our Blog

“On the Borders of Nonsense”: John Quincy Adams, Poet

It was a rainy day in May 1839 and John Quincy Adams, stuck inside, was amusing himself writing poetry. He was trying to imitate the Roman poet Horace, and outdo the English poet Alexander Pope. ...

Barefoot Families and Demon Rum: The Work of an Urban Missionary

In June 1854, the Boston City Missionary Society appointed a Methodist Episcopal clergyman named Luman Boyden to serve as missionary to the poor in East Boston. The 48-year-old Boyden (pictured above, ...

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