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, Adams kept a diary of his public and private experiences.
Begun on 12 November 1779, the diary encompassed over 15,000 pages by the time the final entries were penned before Adams’ 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 makes JQA’s diary truly accessible for the first time by presenting verified and searchable transcriptions of 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, 11,600 pages with verified transcriptions are now available, covering JQA’s legal, political, and diplomatic careers (1789–1817), his time as secretary of state (1817–1825), his presidency (1825–1829), and his tenure in the United States House of Representatives (1830–1848). All available entries are currently searchable by date and keyword. Improved search features are forthcoming, along with transcriptions of additional entries.
Interested in being a part of this historic endeavor? We welcome individuals, near and far, to help with transcription of the diary or related JQA materials. 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 to the Adams Papers. If you prefer to donate by check, please make it payable to the Massachusetts Historical Society and designated to the Adams Papers 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
“This call upon me by the People of the District in which I reside, to represent them in Congress, has been spontaneous . . . I have received nearly three votes in four, throughout the district. My Election as President of the United States was not half so gratifying to my inmost Soul— No election or appointment conferred upon me ever gave me so much pleasure.”7 November 1830
“I answered I hold the Resolution to be a Violation of the Constitution of the right of petition of my constituents and of the people of the United States, and of my right to freedom of Speech as a member of this House— I said this amidst a perfect war whoop of order.”21 December 1837
“There has perhaps not been another individual of the human race of whose daily existence from early childhood to four score years has been noted down with his own hand so minutely as mine—”31 October 1846
“they urged me so much and represented the case of those unfortunate men as so critical, it being a case of life and death, that I yielded, and told them that, if by the blessing of God my health and strength should permit, I would argue the case before the Supreme Court”27 October 1840
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
The John Quincy Adams Digital Diary is maintained by Neal Millikan, William Beck, and Sara Martin, with the assistance of current Adams Papers staff: Karen Barzilay, Rhonda Barlow, Gwen Fries, Kaz Gebhardt, Sara Georgini, Miriam Liebman, Susan Martin, Molly Nebiolo, Amanda Norton, C. James Taylor, Mary K. Wigge, and Hobson Woodward.
Project efforts have been advanced by the valuable contributions of former Adams Papers staff and interns and the dedication of many volunteers:
Sophia Alessandri, Anthony M. Amore, Mary Quine Auerbach, Adam Berk, Nancy Bertrand, Perry Blatz, Kelsey Brow, Jeff DeToro, Ronnie Dooley, Josh Feigenbaum, Joan Fink, Katie Finnegan, 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, Lucy Wickstrom, Emily Wieder, L. J. Woolcock, and others