Guide to the Collection
|Physical Description:||7 document
boxes and 1 oversize box.
|Call Number:||Ms. N-1776
|Call Number:||Adams family, 4th gen., Adams-Thoron
|Microfilm Call Number:||P-396, 3 reels microfilm (select volumes
|Repository:||Massachusetts Historical Society
1154 Boylston Street
Boston, MA 02215
This collection consists of papers relating to
Henry Adams, his wife, Marian (Hooper) Adams, and his niece, Louisa C. (Hooper)
Thoron. The bulk of the collection consists of family correspondence,
1848-1918. Other materials in the collection include property plans outlining
the land owned by Henry Adams in Beverly, Mass., and genealogical information
about the Adams and Quincy families.
Henry Brooks Adams (1838-1918) was the son of Charles Francis Adams
(1807-1886) and Abigail (Brooks) Adams (1808-1889), the grandson of John Quincy
Adams (1767-1848), and the great grandson of John Adams (1735-1826). Henry
Adams (HA) was a journalist, professor, historian, and political observer. From
1860-68, HA worked for his father as a secretary and accompanied him to Europe.
HA was a professor at Harvard College between 1870-77, and then moved to
Washington, D.C., although he continued to maintain a house in Beverly, Mass.
HA married Marian Hooper in 1872 (see below for brief biographical information
about her); they had no children. Throughout his life, HA traveled extensively
and spent time in Europe, Egypt, Japan, Cuba, and the South Seas. His books
include: History of the United States, vols.
1-9, Mont Saint Michel and Chartres, and
The Education of Henry Adams.
Marian (Hooper) Adams
Marian "Clover" Hooper (1843-1885) was the daughter of Dr. Robert William
Hooper (1810-1885) and Ellen (Sturgis) Hooper (1812-1848). She grew up in
Boston, was educated with other girls at the school run by Elizabeth and Louis
Agassiz in their home in Cambridge, Mass., and married Henry Adams in 1872.
Marian (Hooper) Adams (MHA) was a noted photographer and, with her husband, was
active in Washington, D. C. social circles. MHA committed suicide on 7 December
1885. Henry Adams commissioned Augustus Saint Gaudens to make the memorial that
marks her grave at Rock Creek Cemetery in Washington, D.C.
Louisa C. (Hooper) Thoron
Louisa "Looly" or "Loulie" Chapin Hooper (1874-1975) was the second of five
daughters of Edward William Hooper (1839-1901) (Marian Hooper's brother) and
Fanny (Chapin) Hooper (1844-1881). A niece of Marian and Henry Adams, she was
close to them and corresponded frequently with her uncle. On 2 October 1915,
she married Ward Thoron (1867-1938), a Washington, D.C. lawyer, and later the
treasurer of the Merrimack Manufacturing Company. (It was Ward Thoron's second
marriage; he married Ellen Warder in 1893, but they divorced in 1911.) He
corresponded regularly with Henry Adams and also undertook assignments and
research for him.
Theodore F. Dwight
Theodore F. Dwight (1846-1917) worked in the library of the U.S. State
Department. He first met Henry Adams around 1880 when he helped Adams locate
documents required for his research projects. In December 1885, Dwight became
Henry Adams's secretary and assistant. In 1888, Dwight resigned from his
position at the State Department and began cataloging the Adams family's
library and papers. In 1892, Dwight became head of the Boston Public
The Massachusetts Historical Society (MHS) library holds the following
materials containing more detailed information about Henry Adams:
Chalfant, Edward. Both Sides of the Ocean: A
Biography of Henry Adams, His First Life, 1838-1862. Hamden, CT: Archon
Chalfant, Edward. Better in Darkness: A
Biography of Henry Adams: His Second Life, 1862-1891. Hamden, CT:
Archon Books, 1982.
Samuels, Ernest. The Young Henry Adams.
Cambridge: Belknap Press, 1948.
Samuels, Ernest. Henry Adams: The Middle
Years. Cambridge: Belknap Press, 1958.
Samuels, Ernest. Henry Adams: The Major
Phase. Cambridge: Belknap Press, 1964.
The collection is housed in 8 boxes (one is oversize) and contains family
papers relating to Henry Adams, his wife, Marian (Hooper) Adams, and his niece,
Louisa C. (Hooper) Thoron. The collection is arranged in eight series: Henry
Adams Papers, Marian (Hooper) Adams Papers, Louisa C. (Hooper) Thoron Papers,
Genealogy, Adams Memorial, Theodore F. Dwight Commonplace-book, Diplomats and
Secretaries of Foreign Missions in Washington, D.C.; and Watercolors.
The bulk of the collection consists of family correspondence, 1848-1918.
Henry Adams was a prolific correspondent and his papers include letters sent to
his brother-in-law, Edward Hooper, his niece, Louisa Hooper, and Ward Thoron
(who eventually married his niece). Many of these letters were written from his
home in Washington, D.C. or from England and France and include comments about
his activities, various individuals including his friends and political
figures, and current research projects. The letters written by Henry Adams are
included in J. C. Levenson and others, eds., The Letters
of Henry Adams, 6 vols. (Cambridge: Belknap Press, 1982-88) or are
listed in "The Calendar of Omitted Letters" in vol. 6 of that publication. The
correspondence of Marian (Hooper) Adams includes some letters she wrote to her
sister when both were girls in 1853/54, and when they were older, 1860-72,
letters she wrote to her friend, Fanny Chapin, who eventually became her
sister-in-law, and some Hooper family correspondence from 1848-61. The
correspondence of Louisa C. (Hooper) Thoron, 1918-66, includes exchanges with
editors, biographers, and archivists interested in her uncle and his
The collection also includes two items written by Henry Adams: an address he
delivered to his Harvard classmates in 1858, and the poem, "Radical Club,"
published with the by-line, "An Atom," but probably written by Henry Adams.
Records relating to the Adams Memorial, to Marian "Clover" Adams, located in
Rock Creek Cemetery, Washington, D.C., include correspondence and plans
(1962-92) concerning the redesign of the landscaping near the memorial.
Other materials in the collection are: plans (1884-86) to Henry Adams's
property in Beverly, Mass., genealogical information about the Adams and Quincy
families, a commonplace-book (1877-1908) kept by Theodore F. Dwight, Henry
Adams's assistant, and two watercolors probably painted by Henry Adams.
The Massachusetts Historical Society (MHS) holds the following collections
that are related to the Adams-Thoron papers:
Adams-Thoron photographs, ca. 1861-1914. Photo. Coll. 42. Finding aid
Marian Hooper Adams photographs, ca. 1846-1885. Photo. Coll. 50. Finding aid
Henry Adams photographs, 1866-ca. 1900. Photo. Coll. 40. Finding aid
This collection was donated to the MHS by Faith Thoron (Mrs. Robert) Knapp,
the daughter of Ward and Louisa C. (Hooper) Thoron, in 1998. This collection is
comprised of materials new to the MHS, as well as materials that had been
placed on closed deposit at the MHS in 1977. The literary rights were conveyed
by the heirs of Faith T. Knapp in March 2009.
The collection is organized into the following series:
|I. Henry Adams papers, 1858-1918
|A. Correspondence, 1861-1918
|B. Writings and related materials, 1858-1876
|C. Legal and financial, 1908-1918
|D. Appointment book and miscellaneous, 1880
|E. Plans and surveys of property and real estate, 1884-1886
|II. Marian "Clover" (Hooper) Adams papers, 1844-1885
|A. Correspondence, 1853/4-1885
|B. Writings, 1879
|C. Financial materials, 1876-1877
|D. Miniature memoranda book, 1872, and miscellaneous
|E. Hooper family papers, 1844-1861
|III. Louisa C. (Hooper) Thoron papers, 1918-1966
|A. Correspondence, 1918-1966
|B. Gift agreements, n.d., ca. 1955
|C. Biographical notes about Henry Adams, 1934
|D. Publication materials relating to The Letters
of Mrs. Henry Adams, 1935-1966
|IV. Genealogy, n.d., 1935
|V. Adams Memorial records, 1962-1992
|VI. Theodore F. Dwight commonplace-book, 1877-1908
|VII. Diplomats and Secretaries of Foreign Missions in Washington, D.C.,
|VIII. Watercolor drawings, ca. 1879-1891
|I. Henry Adams papers,
This subseries is comprised of correspondence between Henry Adams and
members of his family, in particular Ward Thoron, Louisa C. Hooper, and Edward
Hooper (Henry Adams's brother-in-law). The correspondence with Thoron,
1888-1918, includes discussion of Henry Adams's research projects and
assignments Thoron was completing. Henry Adams's affectionate letters to his
niece, Louisa, 1906-1915, include descriptions of his daily activities; and the
correspondence with Edward Hooper, 1894-1900, relates to family and business
matters. The letters are arranged in rough chronological order, but Henry Adams
did not always include the year (or the month) when he wrote the date.
The four disbound volumes are available on two reels of microfilm, P396,
reels 1-2, for use in the Reading Room. Also, all of the letters written by
Henry Adams are either published in J. C. Levenson and others, eds.,
The Letters of Henry Adams, 6 vols., (Cambridge:
Belknap Press, 1982-1988) or are listed in "The Calendar of Omitted Letters" in
vol. 6 of that publication. Please note: the years and/or months assigned to
some of the letters by the editors of The Letters of
Henry Adams sometimes differ from the handwritten notations (in pencil)
about the dates on the original correspondence. (These notations are also
visible on the microfilm.) The original correspondence has been removed from
the scrapbooks and placed in acid-free folders; item numbers in the upper right
corners of the documents indicate their order in the scrapbooks.
|Box 1||Folder 1||To Henry Adams, from A. S. [Alice Stopford] Greene, n.d.
|Box 1||Folder 2||From Henry Adams,
|Box 1||Folder 3||From Henry Adams,
Typescript and manuscript copies.
|Box 1||Folder 4-10||Letters from Henry Adams to Ward Thoron,
August, 1888-April, 1912.
(Volume I disbound)
Note: Use microfilm, P-396, Reel 1.
|Box 1||Folder 11-15|| Letters from Henry Adams to Ward Thoron,
(Volume II disbound)
Note: Use microfilm, P-396, Reel 1.
|Box 1||Folder 16-25||Letters from Henry Adams to Charles Deane, Edward W. Hooper, Louisa
C. Hooper Thoron, and William Sturgis Bigelow,
(Volume III disbound)
Note: Use microfilm, P-396, Reel 1.
|Box 2||Letters from Ward Thoron to Henry Adams,
(Volume IV disbound)
Note: Use microfilm, P-396, Reel 2.
|Box 3|| Letters from Ward Thoron to Henry Adams,
Photocopies of Volume IV/Box 2.
|Box 4||Folder 1||Correspondence from National Civil-Service Reform League to Henry
Holt and Co. Publishers, regarding proceeds from Democracy,
|Box 4||Folder 2||Correspondence from H. C. Lodge to William Endicott about the health
of Henry Adams,
|B. Writings and related materials,
This subseries consists of a manuscript copy of an address Henry Adams gave
to his Harvard classmates in 1858, and a printed poem, "Radical Club," that was
published in 1875-76 and authored by "An Atom," probably Henry Adams.
|Box 4||Folder 3||Address to Harvard classmates,
|Box 4||Folder 4||"Radical Club," [poem probably by Henry Adams],
2 copies, one annotated by Louisa C. Hooper
| OS Box 1||Folder 1||Radical Club newspaper articles from Boston
Times, Boston Index, and
New York Daily Tribune,
|C. Legal and financial papers,
This subseries includes Henry Adams's will and codicil, and summary
financial statements listing investments, receipts, and payments.
| Box 4||Folder 5||Copy of will,
| Box 4||Folder 6||Financial statements,
|D. Appointment book and miscellaneous,
| Box 4||Folder 7||Appointment book,
| Box 4||Folder 8||Miscellaneous.
|E. Plans and surveys of property and real estate,
This subseries consists of two plans depicting Henry Adams's property and
adjacent landowners in Beverly, Mass., and photostat copies of architectural
drawings of Henry Adams's house in Washington D.C. designed by H. H.
|OS Box 1||Folder 2||"Plan of land [of] T. K. Lothrop and Others Situated in Beverly,
[Mass.]; surveyed by G.A. Haskell," copied by W.F. Merrill,
January 27, 1886.
|OS Box 1||Folder 2||Pencil sketch, Adams property plan, n.d.
Includes lands purchased from Perry in 1875; J. E. Cabot in 1878, and T. K.
Lothrop in 1884.
|OS Box 1||Folder 3||Architectural drawings, house designed by H. H. Richardson for Henry
Adams, Washington, D.C., n.d.
Photostat copies of plans, sections, and
|II. Marian "Clover" (Hooper) Adams papers,
This series includes family correspondence between Marian (Hooper) Adams and
her sister, Ellen "Nella" Sturgis Hooper, her father, and her friend, Fanny
Chapin, who later married Marian's brother Edward. This series also includes a
manuscript copy of a story Marian Hooper Adams sent to her father about her
dog's encounter with the dog catcher, written from Boojum's point of view.
Hooper family papers include correspondence between Mary Sturgis (Marian's
aunt) to Ellen Hooper (Marian's mother), and Edward Hooper (Marian's brother)
to his father, Robert William Hooper.
|Box 4||Folder 9-14||A. Correspondence,
|Box 4||Folder 15||B. Writings: "Boojum's Adventures" (original manuscript),
|Box 4||Folder 16||C. Financial materials: Check stubs,
|D. Memoranda notebook and miscellaneous,
|Box 4||Folder 17||Memoranda notebook (small),
Inscribed: "Marian Hooper for S.B. Shard, 3 June 1872."
|Box 4||Folder 18||Miscellaneous, cover of publication, that belonged to "Clover
|E. Hooper family papers,
|Box 4||Folder 19||Hooper family correspondence,
|Box 4||Folder 20||[Hooper family?], account of the death of "Robert,"
|III. Louisa C. (Hooper) Thoron papers,
This subseries consists of family correspondence (including a letter to Dr.
William Sturgis Bigelow, first cousin of Marian (Hooper) Adams, written by
Louisa C. (Hooper) Thoron in 1918 after Henry Adams's death, thanking him for
submitting obituary notices) and correspondence with Harvard University
regarding several donations of books and manuscripts relating to Henry Adams.
Also included in this series are typescript copies of Hooper family
correspondence. Thoron's correspondence with authors and editors of books about
Henry Adams include letters to and from Ernest Samuels and one of the editors
of the second volume of the Letters of Henry
|Box 4||Folder 21||Postcard, n.d.
|Box 4||Folder 22||From Rebecca [Dodge] Rae, n.d.
|Box 4||Folder 23||1918.
|Box 4||Folder 24||To and from Harvard University Library, regarding manuscript
|Box 4||Folder 25||From Francis B. Lothrop,
1965; includes typescripts of Hooper family letters,
|Box 4||Folder 26||To and from authors and editors of books about Henry Adams,
|Box 5||Folder 1||B. Gift agreements to the Massachusetts Historical Society,
|Box 5||Folder 2||C. Biographical notes about Henry Adams,
This subseries contains biographical notes and chronology relating to Henry
Adams and includes many of Louisa's memories and observations about her uncle,
as well as a timeline based on printed and manuscript sources.
|Box 5||Folder 3-4||D. Publication materials,
The publication materials relating to The Letters of
Mrs. Henry Adams, edited by Ward Thoron, consist of research notes,
manuscript copies of letters, the outline and production notes relating to the
publication, correspondence with the publisher and a financial report about the
|Box 5||Folder 5||IV. Genealogy, n.d.,
This manuscript genealogy traces the Adams and Brooks families from the
mid-seventeenth century to the early-nineteenth century. Also included is a
letter from Elizabeth Ogden Adams (a daughter of Charles Francis Adams, Jr.,
and niece of Henry Adams) to Louisa C. (Hooper) Thoron.
|V. Adams Memorial,
This series consists of blueprints and plans, correspondence, and clippings
relating to the Adams Memorial marking the site in Rock Creek Cemetery,
Washington, D.C. where Marian (Hooper) Adams and Henry Adams are buried. Henry
Adams commissioned Augustus Saint Gaudens to design the memorial after Marion
Hooper Adams's death in 1885 and it was finished in 1891. The materials in this
series document the family's efforts to work with landscape architects to
redesign the area surrounding the memorial in 1967.
|Box 5||Folder 6||Correspondence and clippings,
|OS Box 1||Folder 4||"A Guide to Notable Internments Rock Creek Cemetery," [Washington,
|OS Box 1||Folder 4||Landscape plan, Adams Memorial. Rock Creek Cemetery, [Washington
|OS Box 1||Folder 4||Landscape plans, "Redesign of Landscaping. The Adams Memorial, Rock
Creek Cemetery, [Washington] D.C.,"
Created by Edmunds and Hitchcock Landscape
|OS||Folder 4||Blueprints, "Curbs and Steps for the Adams Memorial, Rock Creek
Cemetery, Washington, D.C.,"
Created by Edmunds and Hitchcock Landscape
Blueprints are rolled.
|Box 6||VI. Theodore F. Dwight commonplace-book,
Commonplace-book includes poetry, quotations, and memorabilia assembled by
Dwight between 1877 and 1908. Also includes sketches of room layouts showing
the locations of paintings and prints in Henry Adams's study in his Washington,
D.C. residence as of June 1885. The entries are arranged in rough alphabetical
order by author or subject.
Note: Use microfilm, P-396, reel 3.
|VII. Diplomats and Secretaries of Foreign Missions in Washington,
Two volumes listing Washington, D.C. officials. The volume, "Diplomats,
Washington, D.C., 1877-1899," contains photostat copies of typescript listing
diplomats to the United States, arranged alphabetically by country of origin.
The volume, "Secretaries of Foreign Missions in Washington, D.C., 1877-1899,"
contains a typescript listing officials by country and then by year, and two
letters, 1935, to William C. Endicott regarding specific officials and this
list of secretaries.
|Box 7||Folder 1||"Diplomats - Washington, D.C.,
|Box 7||Folder 2||"Secretaries of Foreign Missions in Washington, D.C.,
|VIII. Watercolor drawings,
Two watercolor drawings probably by Henry Adams. One depicts a native,
probably Tahitian, and was drawn during Henry Adams's travels in the South
Seas, ca. 1891, and the other depicts Furness Abbey, ca. 1879.
|Box 7||Folder 3||Tahiti?,
Probably by Henry Adams.
|Box 7||Folder 4||Furness? Abbey,
Probably by Henry Adams.
Adams-Thoron papers, Massachusetts Historical Society.
This collection is indexed under the following headings in
the online catalog of the Massachusetts Historical Society. Researchers
desiring materials about related persons, organizations, or subjects should
search the catalog using these headings.
|Adams, Henry, 1838-1918.
|Adams, Marian, 1843-1885.
|Dwight, Theodore Frelinghuysen,
|Thoron, Louisa C. Hooper,
|Thoron, Ward, 1867-1938.
|Rock Creek Cemetery (Washington,
|Washington (D.C.)--Social life
Photographs from this collection have been removed to the Adams-Thoron
photographs, ca. 1861-1914. Photo. Coll. 42.
Printed Materials Removed
For a list of printed materials removed from this collection, see Curator of
Museum Objects Removed from the Collection
The following artifacts have been removed from the Adams-Thoron papers and
have been placed in the Society's museum collection:
Bouquet holder, silver, belonged to Marian "Clover" (Hooper) Adams in a
small brocade covered box. Label inside cover of box: "Cutshing (sic) Gold
& Silver Smith, New Street, No. 8."
Copper plate, bookplate with family crest and slogan, "Humani Bona Animi,"
and name below, "Henry Brooks Adams."