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John Adams Papers

 Collection — Container: MS Adams
Call Number: MS Adams

Scope and Contents

This is an artificial collection that was created with letters from the Mellen Chamberlain, Americana, and English Civilization collections and contains 61 letters written by John Adams before he was President, primarily to Dr. Benjamin Rush. In addition, there are three letters written to Adams and 15 others either written about him or in which he is mentioned. In addition, there are 82 items that were removed from the inside of Adams's books (approximately 35 of those are notes written in Adams's hand) that make up the remainder of the collection.


  • 1764-1906


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Items in this collection may be subject to copyright restrictions. In most cases, the Boston Public Library does not hold the copyright to the items in our collections. It is the sole responsibility of the user to make their own determination about what types of usage might be permissible under U.S. and international copyright law.


180.00 Items

Language of Materials



Arranged in four series:

Series 1 Letters written by John Adams

Series 2  Letters written to John Adams

Series 3  Letters written about John Adams

Series 4  Items removed from John Adams's books

Related Materials

Additional manuscripts related to John Adams, including correspondence and documents in Adam's hand, are held elsewhere in the manuscript collections of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Department. A selection of these were cataloged and digitized as part of the American Revolutionary War Manuscripts project and are available through The Internet Archive.

Processing Information

Finding aid written by Dawn Bovasso in 2005.

Processing Information

This electronic finding aid is transcribed from legacy data. In many cases, transcriptions were not verified against collection materials at the time of transcription. As a result, this finding aid could be incomplete and might only reflect a partial understanding of the material.

Statement on harmful description

Archival description reflects the biases of time periods and cultures in which it was created and may include direct quotations or descriptions that use inappropriate or harmful language. Creator provided descriptions may be maintained in order to preserve the context in which the collection was created and/or used. Legacy description and potentially offensive content may be made available online until a collection can be reprocessed because the access that they provide to primary source materials is uniquely valuable to the research community at large. Our efforts to repair outdated descriptions and to describe our collections more equitably are iterative and ongoing.

John Adams Papers
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2020-12: Related materials note updated by Eve C. Neiger, 2020 December.

About this library

Part of the Boston Public Library Archives & Special Collections Repository

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Boston MA 02116 United States