Catalog of Manuscripts of the Massachusetts Historical Society, 7 vols. (Boston: G. K. Hall, 1969).
The Society also holds the logbooks of many ships, some of which engaged in trade with Russia and called at Russian ports. Records of these voyages must be traced through the name of the vessel.
John Adams (1735–1826). Third president of the United States. Throughout his career he dealt with problems of European and Russian diplomacy. His "Letters Received and Other Loose Papers," letterbooks, and diary for 1779–84 contain correspondence with the Continental Congress, Francis Dana, at the Russian court, 1781–83, Golitsyn, and others. Materials concern armed neutrality, Russian recognition of the United States, trade, and the proposed, but abortive, mediation of Russia and Austria in the American war for independence. When members of his family were in Russia in 1809–15, Adams and his wife Abigail both corresponded with them, unofficially.
John Quincy Adams (1767–1848). Sixth president of the United States. In 1781 he accompanied the U.S. envoy, Francis Dana, to Russia; he was 14 years old. In St. Petersburg he acted as secretary and translator. He was minister to Russia in 1809–14 and secretary of state in 1817–25. Diaries and letterbooks from these periods, and as president, include data on Russian politics, banking, coinage, weights, measures, and vital statistics. He kept notes on his travel to Russia, books bought and read, the weather, agriculture, and the Russian language. Some materials (in part, copies) are about Russia and the Balkans, the Russian-America Company, U.S.-Russian commerce, Russian hemp manufacturing, U.S. trade in the Baltic area, the American consul Levett Harris, and the court of Alexander I. Among his correspondents and acquaintances were Aminov, Bakunin, Balaschev (Balashov), Brzozowsky, Campenhausen, Daschkov, Guriev, Koslodovlov, de Krudener, Princess Kutuzov, Naryshkin, Rumiantsev (an exchange of over 200 notes and letters), and the Emperors Alexander I and Nicholas I.
Louisa Catherine Adams (Mrs. John Quincy Adams) (1775–1852). She accompanied her husband to St. Petersburg, 1809–15. Her diary in Russia, October 1812-February 1814, a "Narrative of a Journey from Russia to France, 1815," and a long autobiographical sketch ("The Adventures of a Nobody") are included, as are her letters from Russia ("Letters Received and Other Loose Papers" file) and some notes and drawings by either her sister (Catherine Johnson, later Mrs. William Steuben Smith) or herself.
William Steuben Smith (1787–1850). Nephew and later brother-in-law of J. Q. Adams, legation secretary during Adams's mission to Russia. Includes his diary for January-September 1814 and his letterbook for 1811–14. A privately owned Smith diary, July-October 1809, on deposit at the Society, is kept with this letterbook.
Note: All the Adams Family papers are available on microfilm from the Massachusetts Historical Society. The "Brief Survey of Materials of Russian Interest in the Adams Papers and Related Collections" in John Quincy Adams and Russia (Quincy, Mass., 1965) is pertinent.