Adams Papers Editorial Project
President John F. Kennedy on the Adams Papers Editorial Project: "...it serves as a most valuable chronicle of a long series of lives which stretch down to the present date. And therefore this formidable record of a formidable family deserves the kind of great editorial support which it is now receiving."
The Adams Papers project was founded in 1954 to prepare a comprehensive published edition of the manuscripts written and received by the family of John Adams of Quincy, Massachusetts. The Adams Family Papers manuscript collection at the Massachusetts Historical Society forms the nucleus of the project. In addition, the editors have gathered over 27,000 copies of Adams items from hundreds of libraries, institutions, and individuals in the United States and abroad. The project's cut-off date is 1889, the year Abigail Brooks Adams died.
The editors do not alter the Adamses' words; rather, they continue the search for Adams documents, select the material to be included in the edition, provide a faithful transcription of the manuscripts, and supply annotation. To date, over 50 volumes have been published by Harvard University Press and are now available online as part of the Adams Papers Digital Edition.
The Adams Papers was funded originally by Time-Life Inc. and the Ford Foundation. At present funding is provided primarily by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Packard Humanities Institute, with additional funding from The Florence Gould Foundation and private donors. Over the years supporters have also included the Lyn and Norman Lear Fund, The J. Howard Pew Freedom Trust, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and The Charles E. Culpepper Foundation through the Founding Families Papers, Inc.
If you have questions regarding the collection or the editorial project, please contact us:
The Adams Papers
Massachusetts Historical Society
1154 Boylston Street
Boston, MA 02215
John Quincy Adams designed and used this acorn and oak leaf seal after 1830. The motto is from Cæcilius Statius as quoted by Cicero in the First Tusculan Disputation: Serit arbores quœ alteri seculo prosint ("He plants trees for the benefit of late generations").