Presidential Papers

The Massachusetts Historical Society holds the papers of John Adams and John Quincy Adams, and the largest collection of Thomas Jefferson’s private papers, in addition to many other valuable presidential papers and artifacts from throughout United States history. In addition, the Society is home to letters written by every U.S. president from George Washington through George H. W. Bush.

Adams Family Resources

Portrait of John 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, including John and Abigail Adams and their extended families.

Thomas Jefferson Papers

engraving of Thomas JeffersonThe Coolidge Collection of Thomas Jefferson Manuscripts contains almost 9,000 pages of correspondence, personal manuscript volumes including his library catalog, and more than 400 architectural drawings.

Other Presidential Papers

Engraving of Abraham LincolnIn addition to major collections of papers of John and John Quincy Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the MHS also holds hundreds of letters written by every U.S. president through George H.W. Bush. See the Guide to Presidential Letters at the Massachusetts Historical Society

Upcoming Events

Online Event; Author Talk

The Power of Objects in 18th-Century British America

30Nov 5:30PM 2020
This is an online program

Over the course of the eighteenth century, Anglo-Americans purchased an unprecedented number and array of goods. Prof. Jennifer Van Horn investigates these diverse ...

Pauline Maier Early American History Seminar; Online Event

Caribbean Connections – Panel Discussion

1Dec 5:15PM 2020
This is an online program

This panel brings together the work of two historians investigating the Caribbean. Casey Schmitt’s paper explores the intersection of warfare and human trafficking ...

African American History Seminar; Online Event

Emancipation In America, Seen Through One Man's Dreadlocks

3Dec 5:15PM 2020
This is an online program

1864. A ship leaves its New England port carrying a USCT regiment to fight Confederates on the Louisiana front. But on the way, a showdown takes place when Pvt. John ...

From our Blog

This Week @MHS

Join us for a program this week! Here is a look at what is going on: - Tuesday, 29 January, 5:15 PM: Better Teaching through Technology, 1945-1969, with Victoria Cain, Northeastern ...

Founder to Founder

Like so many good stories here at the Historical Society, it began with a reference question. Jeremy Belknap, hunting through his sources, asked Vice President John Adams for some help. Belknap, the ...

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