By Elaine Grublin
Most people who are familiar with the MHS know that two of our most well-known collections are the Adams Family Papers and the Coolidge Collection of Thomas Jefferson Manuscripts. Between these two collections, the MHS holds a large corpus of papers belonging to three American presidents: John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and John Quincy Adams. These collections contain items written by the individual men and members of their families throughout their lifetimes, including the years they served as President of the United States.
But did you also know that the MHS holds some volume of manuscript material written by each man that has held the office of president through to George Herbert Walker Bush?
We most definitely do. Although we do not hold documents written by all of these men during their presidential terms, we do have materials authored by them during their lifetimes sprinkled throughout our collections. Most of these items are letters held in the individual collections of the men and women that received them. Other items are materials collected by third parties contained in autograph collections.
On this Presidents’ Day as you think about the lives of the men that have held this highest office, take a few minutes to peruse the Presidential Letters at the Massachusetts Historical Society. This collection guide, completed in 2010, is a roadmap to finding manuscript materials authored by American presidents in our collections. If you have any questions about any materials in this guide — if you would like to plan a visit to view any of the items, or would like to request copies to be sent to you — please contact our library staff at firstname.lastname@example.org.