Diary of John Adams, volume 1


Guide to Editorial Apparatus

lxxv Acknowledgments Acknowledgments

If, as John Donne said, “no man is an island, entire of itself,” but “a piece of the continent, a part of the main,” so also, in not too different a sense, is every undertaking in documentary publication. The editors set up their apparatus in one place—a library or other institution of learning—but they cannot work effectively without drawing on the resources of scores of other institutions and upon the generous services and specialized knowledge of uncounted and uncountable co-workers. No kind of scholarship is more truly and completely collaborative and interinstitutional than large-scale historical editing. No kind more naturally and necessarily incurs scholarly debts that cannot even be enumerated, say nothing of being repaid.

The editors of The Adams Papers are keenly aware of these considerations as they go to press. Any listing they might make of help they have so far received would run to many pages and still be far from complete. What follows is a mere token, in which a few names must stand for many, like a stage army.

The editors wish to express thanks to the following individuals, groups, and institutions for help specifically in the course of setting up the Adams enterprise and the editing and production of John Adam’s Diary and Autobiography:

To the members of the Administrative Board, three gentlemen representing the Adams family, Harvard University Press, and the Massachusetts Historical Society. Their names appear at the head of this volume, but such a listing cannot remotely suggest the vision and effort they have contributed to this enterprise.

To the members of the Editorial Advisory Committee, listed in the same place, who have strengthened the editors’ hands whenever help has been asked for, and have left the editors’ hands free at other times.

To the living members of the Adams family, whose interest in a publication containing their family history has naturally been strong but has been expressed exclusively by confidence in the editors, patient answers to their questions, and generous actions forwarding their labors.

To Time, Inc., which on behalf of Life provided the funds to edit these papers. There is something highly fitting and gratifying in the lxxvirealization that large portions of the writings of a family that for three generations devoted itself to national service should be presented to the American public in the numbers of a magazine that reaches millions of readers. “Mausauleums, Statues, Monuments will never be erected to me,” John Adams told a friend in 1809. “Panegyrical Romances will never be written, nor flattering Orations spoken, to transmit me to Posterity in brilliant Colours.” He was right in only the most limited sense. If few monuments have been erected to John Adams, he has, at length, something better. Thanks to a great publishing corporation, his life and the lives of his descendants, who never courted popularity either, are to be spread amply before their countrymen in their own words.

To the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation for a generous fellowship enabling the editor in chief to follow the footsteps of the Adamses through Europe and to document their travels and residences abroad with pictorial as well as printed and manuscript materials that have greatly enriched the present volumes and will continue to enrich those that follow.

To Harvard University Press and its staff in all its departments for their extraordinary professional competence, constructive interest at every stage of the work, and understanding and forbearance during times of editorial stress.

To the Harvard University Printing Office for high standards of craftsmanship maintained in tandem with efficiency and dispatch in performance.

To the Massachusetts Historical Society for the inspiration of its long record of distinguished documentary publications, for hospitable space, for unrivaled facilities for the study of New England history, for the daily and almost hourly help of its director and staff, and for the kindness of members of its Publications Committee in reading the galley proofs of these volumes.

To a number of neighboring libraries and their officials, especially the Boston Athenaeum, the Boston Public Library, the Harvard College Library, and the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, for the liberality with which they have placed their rich resources at the disposal of the Adams editorial enterprise.

To the librarians, archivists, and curators of scores of other institutions in this country and abroad who have furnished lists and photo-duplicates of Adams documents, have patiently and efficiently answered our inquiries on all kinds of topics, and who continue to volunteer information they know will be pertinent to our work.


To the National Historical Publications Commission and its staff in Washington. For the Adams Papers, as for other large-scale editorial enterprises, the staff of the Commission has carried on searches for documents in the Library of Congress and the National Archives with a comprehensiveness that none of the enterprises individually could have equaled, and it has made available microfilm publications of the National Archives that augment our files and support our research at many points.

To those collectors, dealers, and other private owners of Adams letters and manuscripts who have graciously permitted them to be photocopied for our editorial files.

To our fellow editors engaged in similar undertakings, some of whom have shown and lighted the way for us and all of whom have shared with us their discoveries and their specialized knowledge of the Adamses’ contemporaries and their writings.

To the present and former members of The Adams Papers staff. Here we must break through the anonymity so far maintained in this listing and name names. It is revealing no secret to point out that the names of the titlepage of a publication like the present one are only the exposed part of an iceberg. A whole band of co-workers, some for long periods, some for short, have contributed their skills, intelligence, and devotion to the work so far done. Miss Eleanor Bates must lead the list and be placed in a class by herself. She served as assistant editor during the period when the papers were being inventoried and brought under control and the edition was being planned. Though she left for other fruitful work before any edited copy was handed to the press for production, her successors, Leonard C. Faber and Wendell D. Garrett (whose terms as assistant editors have only briefly overlapped each other) and the editor in chief have had daily proofs that if she took much away with her she also left much behind on which we continue to build with confidence. Other former and current members of the staff have been Mrs. Harriet R. Cabot, Mrs. Paul W. Cherington, Miss Nancy Hugo, Mrs. R. Tenney Johnson, Mrs. Nadia M. Kun, Mrs. John A. Malcolm, Miss Anna K. Moses, Mr. W. Lyon Phelps, Miss Veronica Ruzicka, and Miss Jean Willcutt. The editors tender their warmest thanks to each one of them.

When confronting special problems the editors have drawn on an ever-widening circle of friends and of consultants to the enterprise. The present volumes have particularly benefited from the specialized knowledge of the following persons:

On matters relative to British manuscripts, archives, topography, lxxviiiand the like: Mr. Francis L. Berkeley Jr., University of Virginia Library; Miss W. D. Coates, National Registry of Archives, Historical Manuscripts Commission, London; Sir David Evans, Public Record Office, London; Sir Frank C. Francis, The British Museum; Mr. A. Taylor Milne, Institute of Historical Research, University of London; Mr. J. R. Pole, University of London; Mr. R. A. Skelton, The British Museum.

On Dutch archives, history, language, and topography: Mr. Meyer Elte, The Hague; Professor Pieter Geyl, University of Utrecht; Dr. Simon Hart, Gemeentlijke Archiefdienst, Amsterdam; Dr. H. M. Men-sonides, Gemeente-Archief, The Hague; Mrs. Francis O’Loughlin, Cambridge, Mass.; Dr. A. van der Poest Clement, Algemeen Rijksar-chief, The Hague; Professor P. J. van Winter, University of Groningen; Mrs. van Winter.

On French archives, language, and topography: M. Jean Baillou, Ministère des Affaires Etrangères, Paris; Dr. Howard C. Rice Jr., Princeton University Library; Mrs. W. Kenneth Thompson, Boston; Mr. William R. Tyler, Bonn, Germany; M. Pierre Verlet, Musée du Louvre, Paris.

On classical languages: Mr. and Mrs. Van Courtlandt Elliott, Cambridge; Professor Sterling Dow, Harvard University; Dr. Richard M. Gummere, Cambridge; Professor Johannes E. Gaertner, Lafayette College; Professor Mason Hammond, Harvard University; Sir Ronald Syme, Oxford University; Mr. Herbert H. Yeames, Boston.

On cartography: Mr. Ernest S. Dodge, Peabody Museum of Salem; Dr. Lawrence C. Wroth, John Carter Brown Library.

On legal history and the interpretation of 18th-century legal manuscripts: Professor Mark DeWolfe Howe, Harvard University; and a succession of students and graduates of the Harvard Law School—Messrs. R. Tenney Johnson, L. Kinvin Wroth, and Hiller Zobel—who, with the active encouragement of Professor Howe and Dean Erwin N. Griswold, have annotated John Adams’ legal papers and identified and listed related materials in the early files of Massachusetts courts in the Suffolk County Court House.

On military history in the 18th century: Colonel Edward P. Hamilton of Milton, Mass., and Fort Ticonderoga, N.Y.

On American naval history: Mr. Marion V. Brewington, Peabody Museum of Salem; Mr. William Bell Clark, Brevard, N.C.; Rear Admiral E. M. Eller, Bureau of Naval History, U.S. Navy.

On Philadelphia local history: Miss Lois V. Given and Nicholas B. Wainwright, both of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.


On printing, illustrations, and related matters: Mr. P. J. Conkwright, Princeton University Press; Mr. Harold Hugo, Meriden Gravure Company, Meriden, Conn.; Mr. Rudolph Ruzicka, Boston.

On Quincy local history: Mr. John Adams, Lincoln, Mass.; Mr. William C. Edwards, Quincy, Mass.; Mr. H. Hobart Holly, Braintree, Mass.

Mr. Charles F. Adams of Dover, Mass., very generously provided funds for a checklist of the books in the Old House and the Stone Library at Quincy. The work was carried out by Mr. Lloyd A. Brown and has proved constantly useful.

Mr. Roger Butterfield and Miss Alison Kallman have in the preparation of the text and illustrations for the articles on The Adams Papers appearing or to appear in Life added a new dimension to the editors’ labors.

Mr. George M. Cushing Jr. of Boston has been our constant resource in everything relating to photography, as our lists of illustrations in these volumes show.

Mr. Zoltán Haraszti of the Boston Public Library graciously turned over to the editors for their unrestricted use his transcripts and notes, compiled over many years, relating to the marginalia John Adams wrote in the books he read.

Mrs. Frank E. Harris, superintendent of the Adams National Historic Site (“the Old House”) at Quincy, administered by the National Park Service, has proved so warm and resourceful a friend to this enterprise that the editors have again and again sought her aid, and they have never sought in vain.

Jane Coolidge Whitehill of North Andover, Mass., has given voluntary help to the Adams enterprise on all kinds of problems from time to time and over long periods of time. It is not easy to think of terms in which to express our thanks to her.

Jane N. Garrett and Elizabeth E. Butterfield have not only furnished cheer and comfort during the long struggle to launch these volumes, but during its final and most arduous stages have plunged into and shared that struggle fully. John Adams often, and rightly, congratulated himself on the peerless qualities of his partner in marriage. Fortunately wifely virtues did not pass from the world with Abigail Adams.