Adams Papers: Three new volumes in ROTUNDA

We have released three new digital editions of volumes from the Adams Papers project (sponsored by the Massachusetts Historical Society and published by Harvard University Press) in Rotunda’s Adams Papers Digital Edition. As for previously released volumes in the Adams Papers, we include the full textual content of the letterpress volumes and all graphics for which permission is available, and a hyperlinked version of the indexes for each volume.

New in this release, and added to all previous volumes of the Adams Papers Digital Edition, are mouseover expansions of all of the Adams family code abbreviations used in the edition (such as AA2 for Abigail Adams [1765–1813], daughter of John and Abigail).

Adams Family Correspondence, volume 8, drawing from nearly 250 letters, follows the Adams family from March 1787 to the close of 1789. The correspondence covered in this volume evokes a period of transition both for both the nation and the Adams family. John Adams made the transition from the first Minister to the Court of St. James to first Vice President of the United States under the new Constitution, after only a brief respite at their newly acquired farm in Quincy, which John Adams named Peacefield. Meanwhile, their daughter Nabby, married in 1786, gave birth to John and Abigail’s first grandchildren, and their sons, John Quincy, Charles, and Thomas Boylston, furthered their studies at Harvard and embarked on their own legal careers.

Volume 9 of the Adams Family Correspondence chronicles the early years of the American republic under the new Constitution with Vice President John Adams faithfully presiding over the Senate. Internationally, the United States faced diplomatic challenges as the outbreak of the French Revolution raised questions about the position and response the nation should take in regard to both France and Europe in general. On the domestic front, all of the Adams children completed their transition to adulthood, with the youngest son, Thomas Boylston, graduating from Harvard. The correspondence of the children, both among themselves and to their parents, takes center stage in this volume of nearly 300 letters spanning from January 1790 to December 1793 and reveals not only their sentiments on national and world events, but also the intimate details of family and farm.

The 350 letters of The Papers of John Adams, volume 14, explore the slow and difficult diplomatic conclusion to the American Revolutionary War from October 1782 to May 1783. Wary of France’s motives and desirous of establishing a fully independent way, John Adams and the American Peace Commissioners determined to strike a peace with Great Britain separate from France, but issues ranging from loyalists to fishing rights slowed progress. Meanwhile, Adams continued his role as minister to the Netherlands overseeing the distribution of funds of the Dutch-American loan, followed fifteen-year-old John Quincy’s long journey from St. Petersburg to The Hague, and took a keen interest in how best to write an accurate history of the American Revolution. As always, Adams’s letters reveal a wealth of insight into not only the history of the period but his own thought processes.

(UVA Press wishes to thank Sara Sikes of the Adams Papers, and her staff, for assistance with proofreading of the digital volumes.)