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

The Fight before the Flood: Rural Protest and the Debate over Boston’s Quabbin Reservoir, 1919 ...

16Jan 5:15PM 2018

In 1919, state engineers proposed solving Boston’s water supply crisis by damming the Swift River, flooding a western Massachusetts valley and evicting 2,500 ...

Brown Bag

Skulls, Selves, and Showmanship: Itinerant Phrenologists in 19th-Century America

17Jan 12:00PM 2018

"Come, then, one and all, and learn to know yourselves." With these words, a traveling phrenologist advertised his lecture to the public. Proponents of phrenology ...

Author Talk

Pauline Maier Memorial Lecture - Madison’s Hand: Revising the Constitutional Convention

17Jan 6:00PM 2018
There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm.

James Madison’s Notes on the 1787 Constitutional Convention have acquired nearly unquestioned authority as the description of the U.S. Constitution’s creation ...

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First things first in this weekly round-up: The Society is CLOSED on Monday, 15 January, in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr., Day. Normal hours resume on Tuesday, 16 January. Now that we have ...

A Midwinter’s Tale

  At eight o-clock on a January morning in 1891, and a world away from the ice-caked streets of his native New England, 52-year-old Henry Adams leisurely began to go about his day. Armed with ...

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