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

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 ...

From our Blog

This Week @ MHS

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 ...

Read more from our blog

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