About The John Quincy Adams Digital Diary
John Quincy Adams (JQA, 1767–1848) is one of the great American statesmen. The oldest son of John and Abigail Adams of Quincy, Massachusetts, his distinguished career in public service spanned six decades and included roles as diplomat, secretary of state, president, and congressman. For more than 68 years, JQA kept a diary of his public and private experiences.
Begun on 12 November 1779, the diary grew to over 15,000 pages by the time the final entries were penned before his death in 1848. The resulting 51 diary volumes comprise the longest continuous record of any American of the time and provide an unparalleled resource for students, scholars, and all lovers of history.
The John Quincy Adams Digital Diary will make JQA’s diary truly accessible for the first time by presenting a verified and searchable transcription of nearly 12,000 entries alongside the manuscript page images on the MHS website. Enhanced access to this free resource will include keyword and personal name search ability, along with topical search features based on themes in middle and high school American history curricula.
Through generous support of private foundations and corporate and individual donors, more than 5,700 pages of verified transcriptions are now available, covering JQA’s early legal, political, and diplomatic career (1789–1817), his time as secretary of state (1817–1825), and his presidency (1825–1829). These are currently searchable by date and keyword. Improved search features will soon be added, along with additional diary entries.
Interested in being a part of this historic endeavor? We are looking for individuals, near and far, to help with transcription. For more information, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Private support is vital to the success of the project. Click the “Donate Now” button to make an immediate gift. If you prefer to donate by check, please make it payable to the Massachusetts Historical Society and designated to the John Quincy Adams Digital Diary and mail it to The Adams Papers—MHS, 1154 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02215.
“I found that my nomination had been as unexpected to him as to myself, and that he had never uttered a word upon which a wish on his part could be presumed, that a public office should be conferred upon me. His opinion upon the subject agrees with my own; but his satisfaction at the appointment is much greater than mine.”10 June 1794
“The year would in general have been a pleasant one, but for the state of my wife’s health which has been almost continually bad, and concerning which I am even now deeply concerned— The subject preys upon my spirits more than I can express.”Day 1799 Entry
“On most of the great national questions now under discussion, my sense of duty leads me to support the administration, and I find myself of course in opposition to the federalists in general.”Day 1807 Entry
“With this prospect of a general Peace in Europe, I commenced my Journey, to contribute if possible to the restoration of Peace to my own Country —”28 April 1814
“Whether my appointment was for my own good or for that of my Country is known only to God. As yet I have far more reason to lament than to rejoice at the Event. Yet I feel not the less the obligation of Mr Monroe’s confidence in me, and the duty of personal devotion to the success of his administration which it imposes upon me—”20 September 1818
“I examined my sons John and Charles, in Greek and Latin, to observe their proficiency. John has made good progress. Charles who is much fonder of books, yet advances slowly. Among the desires of my heart, the most deeply anxious is that for the good-conduct and welfare of my children. In them, my hopes and fears are most deeply involved—”6 September 1818
“To one thing however I had made up my mind— I would take no one step to advance or promote pretensions to the Presidency— If that office was to be the prize of cabal and intrigue, of purchasing Newspapers, bribing by appointments or bargaining for foreign Missions, I had no ticket in that Lottery.”25 February 1821
“At this Moment standing on the Isthmus between the past and the future, I look back with satisfaction solid and pure at what has been accomplished of public service, with humility and regret that more has not been effected, and with unbounded Gratitude to the disposer of all results— Forward, the prospect is beset with difficulties and dangers—”3 March 1821
“I entered upon this day with a supplication to Heaven, first for my Country; secondly for myself, and for those connected with my good name and fortunes, that the last results of its events may be auspicious and blessed.”4 March 1825
The project gratefully acknowledges the following individuals and organizations for their financial support:
Amelia Peabody Charitable Fund
- L. Dennis and Susan R. Shapiro
- Phyllis Lee Levin
Project efforts have been advanced by the valuable contributions of former Adams Papers staff and interns and the dedication of several volunteers:
Anthony M. Amore, Mary Quine Auerbach, Adam Berk, Nancy Bertrand, Perry Blatz, Kelsey Brow, Jeff DeToro, Ronnie Dooley, Josh Feigenbaum, Joan Fink, Katie Finnegan, Gwen Fries, Christina Gaebel, Timothy Giblin, Doug Girardot, Michael Lynn Griffin, Christopher Hall, Kenna Hohmann, Lauren Howard, Robert Huberty, Alison M. Kiernan, Jessica Leeper, Alyssa Machajewski, Cliona McCarry, Scott R. McKinley, Joan Quigley, Margot Rashba, Laura Richards, Emily Ross, Grace Stillwell, Peyton Tvrdy, Emily Wieder, L. J. Woolcock, and others