Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    Charles Francis Adams Autograph Manuscript, Circa 1840. 1.25 pages, 7.5" x 12.25", front and verso. No place, no year.

    We believe that this is an early draft of excerpts from Charles Francis Adams' work, Letters of Mrs. Adams, The Wife of John Adams. With an Introductory Memoir by her Grandson, Charles Francis Adams. by Charles Francis Adams (Boston: Charles C. Little and James Brown, 1840) in Adams' hand, with "Charles Francis Adams" in the text, possibly written for the publishers. It is headed "Memoirs" and, while the top portion appears in the introduction to the published 1840 work on pages xx and xxi, it has been expanded. In this manuscript, C.F. Adams writes about his grandmother, in part: "Her father the Revd. William Smith, was the settled minister of the Congregational Church at Weymouth, for more than forty years and until his death. Her mother Elizabeth Quincy was the granddaughter of the Revd. John Norton. Her maternal grandfather John Quincy was the grandson of Thomas Shepard, Minister of Charleston. A. Smith was born in the Town of Weymouth on the 11th Nov. 1744 - in a letter written in 1817-the year before her death, speaking of her own deficiencies..." In the 1840 published book, Adams writes: "Her father, the Reverend William Smith, was the settled minister of the Congregational Church at Weymouth, for more than forty years and until his death. Her mother, Elizabeth Quincy, was the granddaughter of the Reverend John Norton, long pastor of a church of the same denomination in the neighboring town of Hingham, and the nephew of John Norton, well known in the annals of the colony. Her maternal grandfather, John Quincy, was the grandson of Thomas Shepard, minister of Charleston, distinguished in his day, and the son of the more distinguished Thomas Shepard of Cambridge [three pages later, Adams writes about his grandmother's birth] She was born in that town, on the 11th of November, 1744, O.S. [after writing about Weymouth, he continues on the next page] In a letter written in 1817, the year before her death, speaking of her own deficiencies..."

    In this manuscript, Adams quotes the entire May 13, 1818 letter Thomas Jefferson wrote to John Adams upon reading about Abigail Adams' death, beginning "The public papers my dear friend announce the fatal event of which your letter of October 20 had given me ominous foreboding..." This letter is published on pages xxxv and xxxvi of the lengthy introduction. At the bottom of the first page of this manuscript, Adams titles his work and quotes from a letter, in part: "Letter of Mrs Adams the Wife of John Adams, with an introductory Memoir, by her Grandson Charles Francis Adams - Could you after a thousand fears and anxieties, long expectation and painful suspense, be satisfied with my telling you that I was well, that I wished you were with me..." It concludes on the top of the verso. It is part of a 1778 letter sent by Abigail to John, not received. Charles transcribed it from a rough draft. He supposes that the original, if ever sent, was on ship captured by the enemy or sunk. This letter is on page 131 of Adams' 1840 book. The manuscript offered is browned in portions and creased at the top. Fine condition.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2013
    17th-18th Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 254

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $100,000 (minimum $14), plus 20% of any amount between $100,000 and $1,000,000, plus 12% of any amount over $1,000,000 per lot.

    Sold on Oct 18, 2013 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2021 October 9 Americana & Political Signature Auction Featuring the Michael Ward Collection - Dallas.

    Learn about consigning with us

    The resulting auction of my property overwhelmed me. I want to thank Tom Slater and the Heritage team for a very satisfactory experience and profitable result with my historical consignment.
    Henry L.,
    Lexington, KY
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search