Manuscripts for: Abigail Adams


Massachusetts Historical Society , Boston, Massachusetts:

--Adams Family Papers

Microfilm Editions, 609 reels, Boston, also available through Library of Congress, Manuscript Division; Index available: These papers are extensive, running into thousands of pages. Abigail Adams’ material is not isolated onto specific reels.

Some reels have a concentration of Abigail Adams’ material. Reel 97 has Abigail Adams’ letterbook, covering 18 November 1779-1 December 1779; Reel 197 has Abigail Adams’ miscellany diary, 20 June 1784-28 July 1784, and 30 March 1788- May 1788; Reel 198 has Abigail Adams miscellany, including the manuscript of John T. Kirkland's funeral sermon on Mrs. Adams, November, 1818.

There are four published parts of the Adams Family Papers. The first part includes diaries, the second part includes letterbooks, the third part is miscellany, and the fourth part is letters received, and other "loose" papers.

Abigail Adams’ letters are in the fourth part, chronologically filed with the other "loose" correspondence regarding various family members. Reels 343 to 542 contains most of the documents about the women of the family.

Within the third part, Reels 197-198 are items concerning Abigail Adams.

In the first and second parts, in Reels 1-179, in the diaries and letterbooks of John Adams and John Quincy Adams is information on Abigail Adams.

At the Massachusetts Historical Society, there is also much material of Abigail Adams’ which is not published or microfilmed.

--Cranch Family Papers

, 1749-1928, ca. 700 items: Correspondence, diaries, certificates of membership, notices of meetings, reports, legal notes and briefs, certificates of appointment, and notes of Abigail Adams’ sister Eliza Cranch and her family. Subjects include the official activities and family affairs of John Adams; letters from Abigail Adams to Eliza Cranch and others; and letters, poems, and musical scores (1781-1837) of John Quincy Adams. Unpublished guide.
--The de Windt Manuscript Collection: Letters from John Quincy Adams to his son George from St. Petersburg, 1811-1813, on the subject of religion. Also, letters from Abigail Adams to Abigail Adams Smith, and William Stephens Smith.

--The Norton Diaries

: Background material on Abigail Adams’ maternal forbearers.

--Smith-Carter Collection

: Numerous letters from Abigail Adams to her uncle, Isaac Smith, and cousin Isaac Smith, Jr.

--Smith-Townsend Collection

: 31 items for the period from 1765 to 1818. Letters from Abigail Adams to her cousin, William Smith of Boston and niece Betsy Cranch. Available on microfilm, index.

--The Tudor Manuscripts

: material on Abigail Adams


Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts:

--Henry Oscar Houghton (1823-1895) Papers

, 1773-1932, ca. 3000 items: Chiefly letters to publisher Houghton. Includes 2 letters (1773, 1811) of Abigail Adams. The Houghton Library at Harvard University also holds several letters from Abigail Adams to Mrs. Catherine Johnson, mother of Louisa Catherine Adams.

--The Sparkes Manuscripts

: Material on Abigail Adams.


Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Cambridge, Massachusetts:

--Abigail Adams Paper

, 1808, 1 item: A three-page letter from Abigail Adams to her daughter Abigail Smith regarding family life and politics.

--Bella Clara Landauer Collection

. Ca. 1821-1943, 1 box and 1 oversize and folder: Published and unpublished guides. Correspondence, calling cards, bookplates, photos, and other papers of various American women, including material of Abigail Adams.


American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Massachusetts:

--Abigail Adams Papers

, 1784-1816, 1 ms. box.: Published guide and catalogue. Correspondence of Abigail Adams to her sister Mary Cranch (1741-1811) and her niece Lucy (Cranch) Greenleaf (1767-1846), begins with the Abigail Adams’ voyage to Europe, and continues through the Presidency to retirement in Quincy, MA, in 1801. The letters contain comments on political topics, observations on social and economic conditions, and discussion of life in London, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, and include several hundred unpublished correspondence, some especially relevant to Abigail Adams Smith’s blighted romance with Royall Tyler.
--Stephen Peabody Papers, 1767-1814, 13 octavo vols. and 1 folder: Published and unpublished guides. Diaries, notes, account book, and clippings of Peabody (1741-1819), a minister of the First Congregational Church of Atkinson, NH, and founder in 1787 of the Atkinson Academy. Later diaries include descriptions of visits the Peabodys made with former President John Adams and his wife Abigail (Smith) Adams, who was Elizabeth Peabody’s sister.


Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts:

--Florence Woolsey Hazzard Papers

, 1 box: Author and women’s rights advocate. Annotated typescripts documenting the lives and accomplishments of such women as Abigail Adams, Lucretia Mott, Margaret Fuller Ossoli, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Emma Willard.


Boston Public Library, Boston, Massachusetts:

--Abigail Adams-John Thaxter Letters

1770-1813, 38 items: A small collection of letters written by Abigail Adams to John Thaxter, a cousin, the law student of John Adams, tutor to the Adams children, and John Adams's foreign secretary. Catalogue.


Phillips Library, Peabody-Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts:

--Abigail Adams Papers

, 1784-86, 5 items: Letters of Abigail Adams.


Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.:

--Adams Family Papers

. 1776-1914. Ca. 225 items: Correspondence, writings, and deeds of John Adams and other family members. includes several letters, 1790-1815, to Abigail Adams Published guide and inventory.

--William Smith Shaw Family Papers

, 1636-1892, 1.6 ft.: Published guide and inventory. Family correspondence between Abigail Adams and Elizabeth Shaw Peabody (1750-1815), her son William Smith Shaw, her daughter Abigail Shaw, Mrs. John Barlow Felt (1790-1859) for period between 1784 and 1818. Container 1.

--Thomas Jefferson Papers

: 50 items for the period from 1785 to 1817: Index. Correspondence between Abigail Adams and Thomas Jefferson located in Series I. A microfilm (65 reels) of this collection has been published by the repository for ordinary reader use and interlibrary loan.

--Smith-Carter Family

, Microfilm, Index, 51 items: Covering period from 1761 to 1816, included listings for Abigail Adams as the subject in other letters.

--Davis Batchelder Papers

: Container 1 has letter of Abigail Adams to unknown on 20 May 1813.

--James Monroe Papers

, 2 letters: Container 19, James Monroe to Abigail Adams; draft letter (Series I) 10 April 1813. Abigail Adams to James Monroe; letter (Series I) 20 April 1813.

--Charles William Frederick Dumas Papers

: Container 2 has letter of Abigail Adams to Charles William Frederick Dumas on 12 August 1785.

--William Cranch Papers

: Container 2, three letters from Abigail Adams to William Cranch, 27 December 1799, 17 April 1800, and 30 April 1800.

Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American History, Washington, D.C.:

--Adams Family Papers

, 1775-1856, 0.4 cu. ft.: Correspondence of the Adams family includes letters of various family women, particularly Abigail Adams, on social life and routine activities.


Museum of the City of New York, New York, New York:

--General Collection

: Collection concerns the history of New York City and includes a letter from Abigail Adams, 1786.

Barnard Library,Columbia University, New York, New York:

--Bertha Overbury Collection

, 1777-1957: Unpublished guide. The collection, assembled by Bertha Overbury, consists of correspondence and manuscripts of American feminists, authors, political figures, social workers, and other women. Those represented include Abigail Adams.

New-York Historical Society, New York, New York:

--Abigail Adams Papers

, 1787-1815, 16 items. No guide: Correspondence of Abigail Adams pertains to the activities of Congress in 1789, Shays’s Rebellion, and other political and family matters. Also includes her letters to Cotton Tufts, a Boston physician and legislator.


New York Public Library, Manuscripts and Archives, New York, New York:

--John Adams Papers

, 1795-1893. No guide. Correspondence of John Adams includes letters of Abigail Adams. The Adams family letters have been edited by L. H. Butterfield, Adams Family Archives (Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1963).

--Emner Collection

: Letter of H. Cushing, relative of Abigail Adams, to Margaret Bowers, 29 January 1801 provides the first known contemporary description of the new White House by a reception guest.

Kroch Library, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York:

--Florence Woolsey Hazzard Papers

, covering period 1819-1965, 1.4 cu.ft. and 2 microfilm reels: Author and psychologist. Correspondence, manuscripts of writings, notes, bibliographies, printed matter, photos, and other papers, dealing mainly with Mrs. Hazzard’s studies of eminent American women. Includes miscellaneous personal and professional papers of the Hazzard family. Women represented include Abigail Adams. Includes an unpublished manuscript "Woman Pioneers in Democracy," which includes an essay on Abigail Adams.

Albany Institute of History and Art, Albany, New York:

--Papers of Presidents and Vice-Presidents of the United States

, 1766-1924. Letters and photos. Includes all Presidents from Washington to Harding, Calvin Coolidge and Franklin D. Roosevelt. Also includes Mary Lincoln and Abigail Adams.


Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia:

--Simon Gratz Collection

. Contains Abigail Adams’s letter of 3 April1813, to James Monroe and several letters to Richard Rush of Philadelphia.

--Buchanan Robert Papers

, 1761-1831, Philadelphia, 4 vols.: Correspondence, journal, and receipt book of General Daniel Robert (1727-95), a merchant and Revolutionary War soldier. Includes a poetry album for 1829-1831 of Mary E. Robert, which contains a poem written by John Quincy Adams and one signed by Abigail Adams.

Cincinnati Historical Society, Collections, Cincinnati, Ohio:

--William Cranch (1769-1855) Papers

, ca. 1790-1855, ca. 300 items: Correspondence, poems, documents, and personal and political papers, some of which relate to the importation of slaves. Correspondents include Abigail Adams, Thomas B. Adams, Richard Cranch, James Greenleaf, Josiah Quincy, and Isaac Rile & Company. Unpublished index.


University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Virginia:

--Cabell Gwathmey Collection

, 1708-1852, ca. 170 items: Photocopies. Letters, papers, illustrations, and portraits relating to Revolutionary and early nineteenth century statesmen. Persons named include Abigail Smith Adams, John Adams, John Quincy Adams, and Louisa Catherine Adams.