Given the passage of time, a full listing of persons and institutions that have furnished materials and guidance to the Adams Papers enterprise would make a small volume in itself. A reader wanting to understand what that help has meant ought to review the acknowledgments given as the various sets of volumes have come out since 1961, for the present volumes are indebted to past ones and thus to those specialists, directors of institutions, and owners of manuscripts and illustrative materials mentioned in them. Even the new editors cannot trace back fully the extent of their debt. Behind a single learned footnote may lie the expertise of several scholars who contributed time and thought years ago and were thanked in an appreciative but general statement. To all those of the past, we utter our own heartfelt thanks. Mary-Jo Kline, Associate Editor 1973–1975, now Editor of the Aaron Burr Papers, made such an important contribution that we felt her name belonged on the titlepage.
In editing the general correspondence and other papers of John Adams, we have benefited directly from the assistance of Edith G. Henderson of the Treasure Room of the library of the Harvard Law School. She is expert in tracking down and interpreting old legal tomes in the various editions cited by John Adams. Professors Samuel E. Thorne of Harvard Law School and John W. Zarker of Tufts University translated and identified for us legal and literary passages in Latin. Professors Bernard Bailyn of Harvard, L. Kinvin Wroth of the University of Maine School of Law, and Richard D. Brown of the University of Connecticut speculated thoughtfully on the origin and dating of an anonymous letter to the Boston Committee of Correspondence. Members of the Advisory Committee commented upon the principles of selection and treatment of texts, but in these, as in all other matters, the editors must take final responsibility for the decisions made.
The editors have turned repeatedly for help from neighboring institutions in the Boston area. The Boston Athenaeum continues under its director, Rodney Armstrong, a special relationship of long standing with the Adams Papers staff by not only furnishing materials but granting long-term loan privileges for indispensable works. The libraries of Harvard University have been opened to the editors in a
most generous way. Time and again we have had resort also to the Boston Public Library and particularly to its noted Rare Book Room, where a good part of John Adams' Library, conveniently catalogued, is now housed. Useful for a rather specialized search was the library of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society. Also important was the Massachusetts Archives under the immediate direction of Leo Flaherty. Virtually every scholarly work on the history of Massachusetts produced in the last three decades or so has had to acknowledge its deep debt in that quarter.
The courtesy of institutional and private owners of materials we have used is indicated in appropriate places where they are printed or described, but the staffs of some institutions have made unusual efforts in searching for what we required. We would like to mention the Huntington Library, the American Antiquarian Society, the New York State Library, the New York Public Library, the Vermont Historical Society, and John Nevins of Marlboro College. Thanks are also owed to James H. Hutson and Paul H. Smith of the American Revolution Bicentennial Office of the Library of Congress.
The superb manuscript collections and rare books of the Massachusetts Historical Society have, of course, been basic to our work. The Society also provides ample office space and staff support, but to say just that leaves too much unsaid. Librarian John D. Cushing, Assistant Librarian Winifred V. Collins, and Editor of Publications Malcolm Freiberg have willingly answered dozens of requests for aid, and Aimée Bligh and Gertrude Fisher have been patient with the demands put upon them by editors still finding their way among the Society's collections. Above all, former Director Stephen T. Riley's dedicated support of the Adams Papers enterprise has been a source of strength to the editor.
The present volumes could not have appeared without the generous funding of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The staff of the NHPRC has been understanding of our needs and professional in calling to our attention documents in the National Archives and promoting exchange of ideas among the many editorial projects around the country that it sponsors. The NEH came to our financial aid in a particularly difficult year. Closer to home, the members of the Administrative Board of the Adams Papers have been discerning and cooperative about budgetary and personnel matters, ready to give advice in the best interests of the enterprise when called upon.
Although their names do not appear upon the titlepage, Editorial Assistant Janet Romaine and Office Manager Celeste Walker, assisted by Nancy Koltes Leach, have been indispensable to the editing of the papers. Their knowledge of Adams family materials and their familiarity with work done in the past saved the new editors from some mistakes and misspent time. Their work built upon the contributions of those who preceded them in transcribing and researching. Among these, we would like particularly to mention the preliminary annotation done by Eugene R. Sheridan. Newer members of the staff, Editorial Assistant Elisabeth H. Breuer and Associate Editor David G. Allen, gave assistance in the final stages.
Special words of gratitude are owing to former editors L. H. Butterfield and Marc Friedlaender, who gave advice, criticized first drafts, took their turn at solving knotty problems, and were unfailingly supportive and patient in listening to tales of frustration and occasional triumph. Without their generous counsel and steady kindness, the task might have overwhelmed the new editors.
Finally, the editors thank the members of the Massachusetts Historical Society Publications Committee, some of whom read galleys—Malcolm Freiberg, Robert E. Moody, Marc Friedlaender, and Stephen T. Riley—and our editor at Harvard University Press, Ann Louise McLaughlin, who went over the copy meticulously, trying her best to keep us clear, succinct, and consistent. An astonishing number of people have contributed to these volumes, but responsibility for any shortcomings must lie at our door.