Documentary Editing, Association for


Date of this Version


Document Type



Documentary Editing: Journal of the Association for Documentary Editing, Volume 31: 2010 ISSN 0196-7134


© 2010 The Association for Documentary Editing. Used by permission.


My Dearest Friend contains 289 letters “selected from the entire corpus” of the Adams letters from 1762 to 1801 and “is meant to show both the consistency of their relationship and the evolution of the family through the entire founding era.” A three-page epilogue on the death of Abigail consists of a short headnote and two letters exchanged between John and John Quincy Adams. All but three of the letters in My Dearest Friend are in the Adams Family manuscript collection given by the Adams family to the Massachusetts Historical Society (MHS) in 1956. The letters were all microfilmed on 608 reels by the MHS in the 1950s and sold to research libraries throughout the world. The Abigail and John letters appear on the MHS Web site ( at “The Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive.” (See below.) Abigail and John’s letters also appear among the volumes of The Adams Family Correspondence published by The Bel - knap Press of Harvard University Press. Nine volumes have been published to date, covering the years through 1793. All of the published Adams volumes appear on the MHS Web site and are also digitally available on Rotunda, University of Virginia Press.