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

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

John Adams

Edited by L. H. Butterfield, Leonard C. Faber, and Wendell D. Garrett

ISBN 9780674967762

Publication date: 12/12/1961

John Adams' Diary, partially published in the 1850's, has proved a quarry of information on the rise of Revolutionary resistance in New England, the debates in the early Continental Congresses, and the diplomacy and financing of the American Revolution; but it has remained unfamiliar to the wider public. "It is an American classic," Zoltán Haraszti said recently, "about which Americans know next to nothing." Yet the Diary’s historical value may well prove secondary to its literary and human interest. Now that it is presented in full, we have for the first time a proper basis for comprehending John Adams—an extraordinary human being, a master of robust, idiomatic language, a diarist in the great tradition.

The Autobiography, intended for John Adams' family, 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' associates, which are as scintillating as they are prejudiced, parts and in some cases all of which were omitted from Charles Francis Adams' 19th-century edition.


  • L. H. Butterfield was editor in chief of The Adams Papers.
  • Leonard C. Faber was Assistant Editor of the Adams Papers until 1960, when he joined the staff of the National Historical Publications Commission in the National Archives.
  • Wendell D. Garrett, author of Apthorp House and Senior Vice President of Sotheby’s, was on the staff of the Adams Papers.

Book Details

  • Belknap Press

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