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The Adams Papers Project was founded in 1954 to edit and publish the writings of the family of John Adams. This extraordinary family included presidents, statesmen, scholars, and literary figures. The family members’ extensive writings—letters, diaries, legal and diplomatic papers, and more—form an unmatched record of the first century and a half of American history, in which four generations played a central role. The manuscript collection at the Massachusetts Historical Society forms the nucleus of the project, to which have been added more than 27,000 items from libraries, institutions, and individuals.

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Below is a list of in-print works in this collection, presented in series order or publication order as applicable.

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1.Cover: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 1 and 2: December 1761 - March 1778

Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 1 and 2: December 1761 - March 1778

Adams Family
Butterfield, L. H.
Garrett, Wendell D.
Sprague, Marjorie

The Adams Family Correspondence, Mr. Butterfield writes, “is an unbroken record of the changing modes of domestic life, religious views and habits, travel, dress, servants, food, schooling, reading, health and medical care, diversions, and every other conceivable aspect of manners and taste among the members of a substantial New England family who lived on both sides of the Atlantic and wrote industriously to each other over a period of more than a century.” These volumes are the first in the estimated twenty or more in Series 2 of The Adams Papers.

2.Cover: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 3 and 4: April 1778 - September 1782

Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 3 and 4: April 1778 - September 1782

Adams Family
Butterfield, L. H.
Friedlaender, Marc

The letters in these volumes, written from both sides of the Atlantic, chronicle the nearly five years in which John Adams—in successive missions to Europe, accompanied first by one son, then by two—initiated what would be a continuing role for Adamses in three generations: representing their country and advancing its interests in the capitals of Europe. If the letters of John and Abigail are central, those written by others are hardly less interesting: the concerns of young John Quincy at school in Leiden and his observations of St. Petersburg at age fourteen; the adventure-filled return voyage of Charles, aged eleven, to America; and the interests of the younger Abigail, maturing in Braintree.

3.Cover: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 5 and 6: October 1782–December 1785

Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 5 and 6: October 1782–December 1785

Adams Family
Ryerson, Richard Alan
Revelas, Joanna M.
Walker, Celeste
Lint, Gregg L.
Costello, Humphrey

With the summer of 1784, most of the family reunited to spend nearly a year together in Europe. Their correspondence expanded to include an ever larger and more fascinating range of Cultural topics and international figures. The record of this remarkable expansion, these volumes document John Adams’s diplomatic triumphs, his wife Abigail and daughter’s participation in the cosmopolitan scenes of Paris and London, and his son John Quincy’s travels in Europe and America.

4.Cover: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 7: January 1786-February 1787

Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 7: January 1786-February 1787

Adams Family
Hogan, Margaret A.
Taylor, C. James
Walker, Celeste
Cecere, Anne Decker
Lint, Gregg L.
Woodward, Hobson
Claffey, Mary T.

In their myriad letters to one another the Adamses interspersed observations about their own family life—births and deaths, illnesses and marriages, new homes and new jobs, education and finances—with commentary on the most important social and political events of their day, from the scandals in the British royal family to the deteriorating political situation in Massachusetts that eventually culminated in Shays’ Rebellion.

5.Cover: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 8: March 1787-December 1789

Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 8: March 1787-December 1789

Adams Family
Hogan, Margaret A.
Taylor, C. James
Rodrique, Jessie May
Woodward, Hobson
Lint, Gregg L.
Claffey, Mary T.

By early 1787, as this latest volume of the award-winning series Adams Family Correspondence opens, John and Abigail Adams, anticipating a quiet retirement from government in Massachusetts, were quickly pulled back into the public sphere by John’s election as the first vice president under the new Constitution. With their characteristic candor, the Adamses thoughtfully observe the world around them, from the manners of English court life to the politics of the new federal government in New York during this crucial historical period.

6.Cover: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 9: January 1790–December 1793

Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 9: January 1790–December 1793

Adams Family
Hogan, Margaret A.
Taylor, C. James
Barzilay, Karen N.
Woodward, Hobson
Claffey, Mary T.
Karachuk, Robert F.
Sikes, Sara B.
Lint, Gregg L.

The years 1790 to 1793 marked the beginning of the American republic, a contentious period as the nation struggled to create a functioning government amid increasingly bitter factionalism. As usual, the Adams family found itself in the midst of it all. This volume offers both insight into the family and the frank commentary on life that readers have come to expect from the Adamses.

7.Cover: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 10: January 1794–June 1795

Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 10: January 1794–June 1795

Adams Family
Hogan, Margaret A.
Taylor, C. James
Martin, Sara
Woodward, Hobson
Sikes, Sara B.
Lint, Gregg L.
Georgini, Sara

The Adams family comments on national and international events, from America’s growing tensions with Britain and France to virulent domestic political factionalism and the Whiskey Rebellion. The most significant event for the Adamses was John Quincy’s appointment as U.S. minister resident at The Hague, the beginning of a long diplomatic career.

7.5.Cover: The Earliest Diary of John Adams: June 1753 - April 1754, September 1758 - January 1759

The Earliest Diary of John Adams: June 1753 - April 1754, September 1758 - January 1759

Adams, John
Butterfield, L. H.
Friedlaender, Marc
Garrett, Wendell D.

The existence of this diary was totally unsuspected until its somewhat accidental discovery among papers at the Vermont Historical Society during a search for Adams family letters of a later period. In part, the diary antedates by more than two years all other diaries of John Adams, and significantly supplements the Diary and Autobiography of John Adams. Among other matters, the newly found diary contains material on John Adams’s life as an undergraduate at Harvard, his choice of a career, his law studies and his first case as a practicing lawyer, his ambitions, and his observations on girls.

8.Cover: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 11: July 1795–February 1797

Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 11: July 1795–February 1797

Adams Family
Hogan, Margaret A.
Taylor, C. James
Martin, Sara
Millikan, Neal E.
Woodward, Hobson
Sikes, Sara B.
Lint, Gregg L.

The letters in this volume of Adams Family Correspondence span the period from July 1795 to the eve of John Adams’s inauguration, with the growing partisan divide leading up to the election playing a central role. The fiery debate over funding the Jay Treaty sets the political stage, and the caustic exchanges between Federalists and Democratic-Republicans only grow as rumors surface of George Washington’s impending retirement. John’s equanimity in reporting to Abigail and his children on the speculation about the presidential successor gives way to expectation and surprise at the voracity of electioneering among political allies and opponents alike. Abigail offers keen, even acerbic, commentary on these national events. From Europe, John Quincy and Thomas Boylston shed light on the rise of the French Directory, the shifts in the continental war, and the struggles within the Batavian government, and John Quincy’s engagement to Louisa Catherine Johnson in London opens the next great collection of correspondence documenting the Adams family saga.

8.Cover: Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, Volume 1: 1755-1770

Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, Volume 1: 1755-1770

Adams, John
Butterfield, L. H.
Faber, Leonard C.
Garrett, Wendell D.

The Autobiography, intended for John Adams’s family but never finished, consists of three large sections. The first records his boyhood, his legal and political career, and the movement that culminated in American independence. The second and third parts deal with his diplomatic experiences, and serve among other things as a retrospective commentary on the Diary: they are studded with sketches of Adams’s associates which are as scintillating as they are prejudiced. Parts and in some cases all of these sketches were omitted from Charles Francis Adams’s nineteenth-century edition.

8.Cover: Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, Volume 2: 1771-1781

Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, Volume 2: 1771-1781

Adams, John
Butterfield, L. H.
Faber, Leonard C.
Garrett, Wendell D.

The Autobiography, intended for John Adams’s family but never finished, consists of three large sections. The first records his boyhood, his legal and political career, and the movement that culminated in American independence. The second and third parts deal with his diplomatic experiences, and serve among other things as a retrospective commentary on the Diary: they are studded with sketches of Adams’s associates which are as scintillating as they are prejudiced. Parts and in some cases all of these sketches were omitted from Charles Francis Adams’s nineteenth-century edition.

8.Cover: Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, Volume 3: Diary, 1782-1804; Autobiography, Part One to October 1776

Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, Volume 3: Diary, 1782-1804; Autobiography, Part One to October 1776

Adams, John
Butterfield, L. H.
Faber, Leonard C.
Garrett, Wendell D.

The Autobiography, intended for John Adams’s family but never finished, consists of three large sections. The first records his boyhood, his legal and political career, and the movement that culminated in American independence. The second and third parts deal with his diplomatic experiences, and serve among other things as a retrospective commentary on the Diary: they are studded with sketches of Adams’s associates which are as scintillating as they are prejudiced. Parts and in some cases all of these sketches were omitted from Charles Francis Adams’s nineteenth-century edition.

8.Cover: Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, Volume 4: Autobiography, Parts Two and Three, 1777-1780

Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, Volume 4: Autobiography, Parts Two and Three, 1777-1780

Adams, John
Butterfield, L. H.
Faber, Leonard C.
Garrett, Wendell D.

The Autobiography, intended for John Adams’s family but never finished, consists of three large sections. The first records his boyhood, his legal and political career, and the movement that culminated in American independence. The second and third parts deal with his diplomatic experiences, and serve among other things as a retrospective commentary on the Diary: they are studded with sketches of Adams’s associates which are as scintillating as they are prejudiced. Parts and in some cases all of these sketches were omitted from Charles Francis Adams’s nineteenth-century edition.

9.Cover: Diary of John Quincy Adams, Volume 1: November 1779 – March 1786

Diary of John Quincy Adams, Volume 1: November 1779 – March 1786

Adams, John Quincy
Allen, David Grayson
Friedlaender, Marc
Taylor, Robert J.
Walker, Celeste

Volume 1 and Volume 2 of the Diary of John Quincy Adams begin the publication of the greatest diary in American History. Recording a span of sixty-eight years, it has been known heretofore only in partial form. When Charles Francis Adams edited his grandfather’s diary, he chose to omit “the details of common life,” reduce “the moral and religious speculations,” and retain criticisms of others only if they applied to public figures “acting in the same sphere with the writer.” Now the diary is being published complete for the first time.

9.Cover: Diary of John Quincy Adams, Volume 2: March 1786 – December 1788, Index

Diary of John Quincy Adams, Volume 2: March 1786 – December 1788, Index

Adams, John Quincy
Allen, David Grayson
Friedlaender, Marc
Taylor, Robert J.
Walker, Celeste

Volume 1 and Volume 2 of the Diary of John Quincy Adams begin the publication of the greatest diary in American History. Recording a span of sixty-eight years, it has been known heretofore only in partial form. When Charles Francis Adams edited his grandfather’s diary, he chose to omit “the details of common life,” reduce “the moral and religious speculations,” and retain criticisms of others only if they applied to public figures “acting in the same sphere with the writer.” Now the diary is being published complete for the first time.

10.Cover: Diary of Charles Francis Adams, Volume 1: January 1820-June 1825

Diary of Charles Francis Adams, Volume 1: January 1820-June 1825

Adams, Charles Francis
Butterfield, L. H.
Friedlaender, Marc

The present volume reveals Charles Francis Adams as a sensitive and self-critical young man during his college years, in the social whirl of Washington while his father was Secretary of State and President, during his training as a lawyer in Daniel Webster’s Boston law office, and throughout his prolonged courtship of Abigail B. Brooks, a New England heiress. A central theme of these volumes is the struggle which raged within young Adams’ mind and heart between the warm, poetic heritage of his Southern-born mother and the cold, political, New England legacy of his Adams forebears.

10.Cover: Diary of Charles Francis Adams, Volume 2: July 1825-September 1829

Diary of Charles Francis Adams, Volume 2: July 1825-September 1829

Adams, Charles Francis
Butterfield, L. H.
Friedlaender, Marc

The present volume reveals Charles Francis Adams as a sensitive and self-critical young man: in the social whirl of Washington while his father was Secretary of State and President, during his training as a lawyer in Daniel Webster’s Boston law office, and throughout his prolonged courtship of Abigail B. Brooks, a New England heiress. The defeat of his father in the 1828 election, the tragic death of his older brother, and his marriage to Abigail in 1829, with which the volume ends, were way stations in his course toward making himself a “New England man.”

11.Cover: Diary of Charles Francis Adams, Volumes 3 and 4: September 1829 - December 1832

Diary of Charles Francis Adams, Volumes 3 and 4: September 1829 - December 1832

Adams, Charles Francis
Butterfield, L. H.
Friedlaender, Marc

Covering the period from Adams’s marriage in September 1829 to the end of 1832, these volumes record the early years of his maturity during which he was seeking to find his vocation.

12.Cover: Diary of Charles Francis Adams, Volumes 5 and 6: January 1833 - June 1836

Diary of Charles Francis Adams, Volumes 5 and 6: January 1833 - June 1836

Adams, Charles Francis
Butterfield, L. H.
Friedlaender, Marc

Twenty-five at the start of these volumes, Adams had yet to embark on the public career that would mark him a statesman, but by their conclusion he had been drawn into the maelstrom of politics. It was an unwilling plunge, dictated by what both he and his father, John Quincy Adams, regarded as betrayal of the elder Adams by Daniel Webster and his Whigs. Once in, however, he showed himself politically adept.

13.Cover: Diary of Charles Francis Adams, Volumes 7 and 8: June 1836 - February 1840

Diary of Charles Francis Adams, Volumes 7 and 8: June 1836 - February 1840

Adams, Charles Francis
Friedlaender, Marc
Ryerson, Richard Alan
Taylor, Robert J.
Walker, Celeste

The period from Adams’s twenty-eighth to thirty-second year was characterized by his turn from the political activities that had occupied him for the preceding several years. The course of the Van Buren administration he had helped to elect dissatisfied him, the Massachusetts Whig leadership had earned his distrust, positions on political issues that would either echo or oppose those being vigorously espoused by his father, John Quincy Adams, he felt inhibited from avowing publicly. So confronted, Charles found occupation in preparing and expressing himself on economic matters of moment—banking and currency—and moral questions generated by the slavery issue.

14.Cover: Papers of John Adams, Volumes 1 and 2: September 1755-April 1775

Papers of John Adams, Volumes 1 and 2: September 1755-April 1775

Adams, John
Taylor, Robert J.
Kline, Mary-Jo
Lint, Gregg L.

Aside from the Legal Papers of John Adams, published in 1965, these two volumes are the first in Series III: General Correspondence and Other Papers of the Adams Statesmen. Volumes 1 and 2 of the Papers of John Adams include letters to and from friends and colleagues, reports of committees on which he served, his polemical writings, published and unpublished, and state papers to which he made a contribution.

15.Cover: Papers of John Adams, Volumes 3 and 4: May 1775 – August 1776

Papers of John Adams, Volumes 3 and 4: May 1775 – August 1776

Adams, John
Taylor, Robert J.
Lint, Gregg L.
Walker, Celeste

As the American colonies grew more restive, John Adams, though burdened by ever-expanding responsibilities in the Second Continental Congress, found time for an amazing amount of correspondence. Military affairs, a source of never-ending concern, provide some of the most fascinating subjects, including several accounts of the Battle of Bunker Hill, assessments of various high-ranking officers, and complaints about the behavior of the riflemen sent from three states southward to aid the Massachusetts troops.

16.Cover: Papers of John Adams, Volumes 5 and 6: August 1776 - July 1778

Papers of John Adams, Volumes 5 and 6: August 1776 - July 1778

Adams, John
Lint, Gregg L.
Taylor, Robert J.
Walker, Celeste

17.Cover: Papers of John Adams, Volumes 7 and 8: September 1778 - February 1780

Papers of John Adams, Volumes 7 and 8: September 1778 - February 1780

Adams, John
Lint, Gregg L.
Taylor, Robert J.
Ryerson, Richard Alan
Walker, Celeste
Revelas, Joanna M.

These volumes provide an unparalleled account of the conduct of American diplomacy in the early years of the republic, while the war with Britain continued and after the treaty of alliance with France was signed. Legal and constitutional scholars will find Volume 8 of particular interest. The Massachusetts Constitution of 1780, drafted by John Adams in 1779, served as a crucial source for the Constitution of the United States; today it is the oldest written constitution in the world still in effect. The earliest surviving version of Adams’ text, the Report of a Constitution for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is here published with full annotation for the first time.

18.Cover: Papers of John Adams, Volumes 9 and 10: March 1780–December 1780

Papers of John Adams, Volumes 9 and 10: March 1780–December 1780

Adams, John
Lint, Gregg L.
Revelas, Joanna M.
Ryerson, Richard Alan
Walker, Celeste
Decker, Anne M.

These volumes chronicle John Adams’ efforts to convince the British people and their leaders that Britain’s economic survival demanded an immediate peace; his “snarling growling” debate with the French foreign minister, the Comte de Vergennes, over the proper Franco–American relationship; and his struggle to obtain a loan in the Netherlands, where policies were dictated by Mammon rather than republican virtue. Adams’ writings, diplomatic dispatches, and personal correspondence all make clear the scope of his intelligence gathering and his propaganda efforts in the British, French, and Dutch press.

19.Cover: Papers of John Adams, Volume 11: January - September 1781

Papers of John Adams, Volume 11: January - September 1781

Adams, John
Lint, Gregg L.
Ryerson, Richard Alan
Cecere, Anne Decker
Shea, Jennifer
Taylor, C. James
Walker, Celeste

In mid-March 1781, John Adams received his commission and instructions as minister to the Netherlands and embarked on the boldest initiative of his diplomatic career. Disappointed by the lack of interest shown by Dutch investors in his efforts to raise a loan for the United States, Adams changed his tactics, and in a memorial made a forthright appeal to the States General of the Netherlands for immediate recognition of the United States. Published in Dutch, English, and French, it offered all of Europe a radical vision of the ordinary citizen’s role in determining political events. In this volume, for the first time, the circumstances and reasoning behind Adams’s bold moves in the spring of 1781 are presented in full.

20.Cover: Papers of John Adams, Volume 12: October 1781 - April 1782

Papers of John Adams, Volume 12: October 1781 - April 1782

Adams, John
Lint, Gregg L.
Ryerson, Richard Alan
Cecere, Anne Decker
Taylor, C. James
Shea, Jennifer
Walker, Celeste
Hogan, Margaret A.

This volume chronicles John Adams’s efforts, against great odds, to achieve formal recognition of the new United States. The documents include his vigorous response to criticism of his seemingly unorthodox methods by those who would have preferred that he pursue a different course, including Congress’s newly appointed secretary for foreign affairs, Robert R. Livingston.

21.Cover: Papers of John Adams, Volume 13: May–October 1782

Papers of John Adams, Volume 13: May–October 1782

Adams, John
Lint, Gregg L.
Taylor, C. James
Hogan, Margaret A.
Rodrique, Jessie May
Claffey, Mary T.
Woodward, Hobson

John Adams was a shrewd observer of the political and diplomatic world in which he functioned and his comments on events and personalities remain the most candid and revealing of any American in Europe. In 1782, Adams focused his energies on raising a loan from Dutch bankers and negotiating a Dutch–American commercial treaty. This volume chronicles Adams’s efforts to achieve these objectives, but it also provides an unparalleled view of eighteenth-century American diplomacy on the eve of a peace settlement ending the eight-year war of the American Revolution.

22.Cover: Papers of John Adams, Volume 14: October 1782 – May 1783

Papers of John Adams, Volume 14: October 1782 – May 1783

Adams, John
Lint, Gregg L.
Taylor, C. James
Woodward, Hobson
Hogan, Margaret A.
Claffey, Mary T.
Sikes, Sara B.
Graham, Judith S.

John Adams reached Paris on October 26, 1782, for the final act of the American Revolution: the peace treaty. This volume chronicles his role in the negotiations and the decision to conclude a peace separate from France.

23.Cover: Papers of John Adams, Volume 15: June 1783 – January 1784

Papers of John Adams, Volume 15: June 1783 – January 1784

Adams, John
Lint, Gregg L.
Taylor, C. James
Karachuk, Robert F.
Woodward, Hobson
Hogan, Margaret A.
Sikes, Sara B.
Claffey, Mary T.
Barzilay, Karen N.

On September 3, 1783, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and John Jay signed the definitive Anglo–American peace treaty. Adams and his colleagues strived to establish a viable relationship between the new nation and its largest trading partner but were stymied by rising British anti-Americanism. Adams’s diplomatic efforts were also complicated by domestic turmoil: when bills far exceeding the funds available for their redemption were sent to Europe, he was forced to undertake a dangerous winter journey to the Netherlands to raise a new loan and save the United States from financial disaster.

24.Cover: Papers of John Adams, Volume 16: February 1784 – March 1785

Papers of John Adams, Volume 16: February 1784 – March 1785

Adams, John
Lint, Gregg L.
Taylor, C. James
Karachuk, Robert F.
Woodward, Hobson
Hogan, Margaret A.
Millikan, Neal E.
Sikes, Sara B.
Martin, Sara
Georgini, Sara
Norton, Amanda Mathews
Connolly, James T.

John Adams, with Franklin and Jefferson, formed a joint commission to conclude commercial treaties with the nations of Europe and North Africa. As minister to the Netherlands he raised a new Dutch loan to save America from financial ruin. For the first time since 1778, Adams was no longer engaged in “militia diplomacy.”

25.Cover: Portraits of John Quincy Adams and His Wife

Portraits of John Quincy Adams and His Wife

Oliver, Andrew

25.Cover: Papers of John Adams, Volume 17: April–November 1785

Papers of John Adams, Volume 17: April–November 1785

Adams, John
Lint, Gregg L.
Taylor, C. James
Georgini, Sara
Woodward, Hobson
Sikes, Sara B.
Norton, Amanda Mathews
Martin, Sara

Minister to Britain John Adams was unable to enforce the peace treaty of 1783 and renew Anglo–American commerce. But he saved U.S. credit, petitioned to release impressed sailors, saw the Prussian–American treaty ratified, and laid the groundwork for negotiations with the Barbary States.

26.Cover: Legal Papers of John Adams

Legal Papers of John Adams

Adams, John
Wroth, L. Kinvin
Zobel, Hiller B.

27.Cover: Diary and Autobiographical Writings of Louisa Catherine Adams, Volumes 1 and 2: 1778–1849

Diary and Autobiographical Writings of Louisa Catherine Adams, Volumes 1 and 2: 1778–1849

Adams, Louisa Catherine
Graham, Judith S.
Luey, Beth
Hogan, Margaret A.
Taylor, C. James

Born in London in 1775 to a Maryland merchant and his English wife, Louisa recalls her childhood and education in England and France and her courtship with John Quincy. Her diaries reveal a reluctant but increasingly canny political wife. Her husband emerges in a fullness seldom seen—ambitious and exacting, yet passionate, generous, and gallant.

28.Cover: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 12: March 1797–April 1798

Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 12: March 1797–April 1798

Adams Family
Martin, Sara
Taylor, C. James
Millikan, Neal E.
Norton, Amanda Mathews
Woodward, Hobson
Sikes, Sara B.
Lint, Gregg L.
Georgini, Sara

Volume 12 opens with John Adams’s inauguration as president and closes just after details of the XYZ affair become public in America. Through private correspondence, and with the candor and perception expected from the Adamses, family members reveal their concerns for the well-being of the nation and the sustaining force of domestic life.

29.Cover: Papers of John Adams, Volume 18: December 1785 – January 1787

Papers of John Adams, Volume 18: December 1785 – January 1787

Adams, John
Lint, Gregg L.
Martin, Sara
Taylor, C. James
Georgini, Sara
Woodward, Hobson
Sikes, Sara B.
Norton, Amanda Mathews

Volume 18 of the Papers of John Adams chronicles John Adams’ tenure as minister to Great Britain and his joint commission, with Jefferson, to negotiate treaties with Europe and North Africa. Adams found it impossible to do “any Thing Satisfactory” with Britain, and the volume ends with his decision to resign his posts.

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