John Quincy Adams: Diary Entries from the 1809 Trip to Russia

On 27 June 1809, the U. S. Senate confirmed President James Madison's appointment of John Quincy Adams (JQA) as minister plenipotentiary to Russia. On 5 August 1809, JQA set sail for St. Petersburg. In addition to writing long entries in one of his diary volumes, JQA also summarized each day of his trip in his line-a-day diary volume. Since 5 August 2009, the Massachusetts Historical Society has been posting John Quincy Adams's line-a-day diary entries on Twitter, exactly 200 years after his journey across the Atlantic.

JQA Twitter Project

Read John Quincy Adams's posts on Twitter. (Twitter posts appear under the user name, JQAdams_MHS.)

MHS looks forward to tweeting another year of JQA's line-a-day diary entries! 5 August 2012 marks the third anniversary of the Massachusetts Historical Society's JQA Twitter project! John Quincy Adams (with the help of MHS staff) continues to tweet his own line-a-day diary entries summarizing his life and work as minister plenipotentiary in St. Petersburg, Russia. Please read (or continue to read) JQA's succinct posts exactly 200 years after he wrote them.

John Quincy Adams's Diaries

John Quincy Adams in Russia

  • "The First Ambassador: John Quincy Adams in St. Petersburg, 1809-1815"(
    This article written by Mary Claffey and Sara Sikes (both authors are Assistant Editors for the Adams Papers Editorial Project) appeared in Russian Life, September/October 2008. This article describes JQA's successful diplomatic mission in Russia as well as his life at Court with his wife, Louisa Catherine and young son, Charles Francis. 

The Beehive Blog Posts about the JQA Twitter Project

  • Was JQA a Tweeter?
    This blog post describes JQA's numerous diaries and likens the short entries within his line-a-day diary to posts to the micro-blogging website, Twitter. 
  • To Russia With Tweets
    This blog post from 16 July 2009 announces Massachusetts Historical Society's plans to post JQA's line-a-day diary entries on Twitter, beginning on 5 August 2009, 200 years after he started his journey to St. Petersburg, Russia. 
  • John Quincy Adams, Media Darling
    This blog post includes links to online articles and video clips from the press describing the JQA Twitter project, as well as comments from Twitterers, and a quote from Louisa Catherine Adams (John Quincy Adams's wife) about the anguish she felt about the prospect of leaving two of her children in the United States when she accompanied her husband to Russia. 
  • John Quincy Adams's Shipboard Reading Lists
    These blog posts list the books John Quincy Adams mentions in his line-a-day diary entries and provides links to online copies of the titles.
    August 1809 | September 1809 |  October 1809 | November/December 1809
  • JQA, Lead-Water, & Lindsey Vonn
    This blog post from 15 March 2010 provides some contextual information about seemingly unusual treatments for JQA's inflamed leg—first the application of lead-water, and then the application of butter. The post also draws a connection to the Olympic skiier, Lindsey Vonn, who said her physical therapist had been treating her shin injury by wrapping cheese on it. 
  • A Description of One Letter John Quincy Adams Sent to his Father in June 1811
    This blog post from 18 June 2011 (in recognition of Father's Day) describes one letter that a noteworthy son (John Quincy Adams) sent to his noteworthy father (John Adams). JQA's letter (dated 30 May and 7 June because it was written on two days in 1811) offers an example of the thoughtfulness, eloquence, and respect JQA displayed towards his father. 
  • John Quincy Adams Writes about an American Born in Russia
    This blog post from 12 August 2011 gathers quotes from different writings by John Quincy Adams in which he describes the birth of his daughter, Louisa Catherine, on 12 August 1811. His line-a-day diary entry is succinct, his long diary entry shares more detail, and a passage from a letter he writes to his mother (Abigail Adams) includes a bit of humor. 
  • JQA's Self-Assessment on His Birthday in 1812
    This blog post from 11 July 2012 shares a passage from JQA's long diary that conveys a rather harsh self-assessment, despite significant professional and personal accomplishments as of his 45th birthday on 11 July 1812. 

Selected Media Coverage about the JQAdams_MHS Twitter Project