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Presidential Founders

A navigational guide to materials related to the U.S. Presidential Founders at The Huntington Library

John Adams

Centennial exposition of American presidents. Jay T. Last Collection.Single manuscript items

The Huntington Library holds no discrete collection of John Adams material, but there are a number of single manuscript Adams items that document his life and career from 1775 to 1818. The bulk is correspondence to family, politicians, and statesmen that discusses politics and foreign relations with Great Britain and Europe. Search Summon Discovery using the subject terms below in quotes to find records for individual items.

  • Adams, John, 1735-1826 -- Correspondence.
  • Adams, John, 1735-1826 – Autographs (manuscripts)

L. Dennis Shapiro collection

In addition, sixteen John Adams letters can be found in the L. Dennis Shapiro collection. Note: the Shapiro collection is restricted—it is available only with curatorial approval and requires extended retrieval and delivery time. Contact the library for more information.

Call number: mssShapiro

Individual items in other collections

There are also a number of individual John Adams items in other archival collections held by the Library, including:

Colonial boundary disputes collection

Call number: mssHM 8970-8978

James McHenry papers

  • John Adams request to the Secretary of War (James McHenry), 1797 March 14 (MH 1)
  • John Adams letter to James McHenry, 1797 October 27 (MH 2)
  • John Adams letter to Timothy Pickering (contemporary copy), 1798 June 12 (MH 3)
  • John Adams letter to James McHenry, 1798, July 6 (MH 4)
  • John Adams letter to James McHenry, 1798, August 18 (MH 159)

Call number: mssMH

Samuel Cooper papers 

  • John Adams letter to (Charles Gravier), Comte de Vergennes, 1779 February 16 (CO 7)
  • John Adams letter (Charles Gravier), Comte de Vergennes, 1779 February 27 (CO 13)
  • John Adams to Benjamin Franklin (contemporary copy), 1783 September 13 (CO 36)

Call number: mssCO

Signers of the Declaration of Independence collection of letters 

  • John Adams letter to “an intimate friend,” written on the eve of Adams' second trip to Europe as U.S. Commissioner, 1779 November 4 (EM 8)
  • John Adams letter to Horace Holley, 1818 September 28? (EM 10)

Call number: mssEM

Edward Davis Townsend papers

  • John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, John Jay to Charles Gravier (contemporary copy), 1779 January (HM 41567)
  • John Adams report on treaty with Great Britain (contemporary copy), 1784 March (HM 41568) ·

Call number: mssHM 41567-41724

James Thomas Fields papers 

  • Bill for legal services rendered to Thomas Pratt, 1767 October 14 (FI 5102)

Call number: mssFI

Image Credit: P.J. Hitchins and Comp., Centennial exposition of American presidents, priJLC_POL_002675, Jay T. Last Collection. Gift of Jay T. Last, 2005.