Your History Moment: John Quincy Adams’ diary from the great hereafter


John Quincy Adams, 6th President of the United StatesWell, not exactly the great hereafter.  John Quincy Adams, our sixth president, left a voluminous set of diaries and personal papers for his son, Charles Francis Adams, to sort out and publish after he passed away.   John Q. Adams was a prolific diarist, and he wrote in nicely truncated, terse entries that filled several volumes.  If you’ve been reading this journal for a while, you may realize where this is going.  As it turns out Adam’s diary style is perfect for adapting to Twitter, the micro-blogging phenomenon of recent years.  Following in the footsteps of Samuel Pepys and George Orwell, John Quincy Adams now maintains a daily Twitter account.. from beyond the grave.  The J.Q. Adams Twitter feed is the project of the Massachusetts Historical Society, who retains possession of many of the Adams papers (from both President Adams) and a full set of original published diaries.  Jeremy Dibbell, a librarian with the Massachusetts Historical Society, says that:  “His short entries are surprisingly rich, full of wonderful details about his reading, meals, weather, and shipboard activities.” In short, they are perfect for the 140 word format imposed by the Twitter service.   I love reading journal entries from the past such as the Pepys, Orwell, and Adams diaries.  They offer a window into an entire other world– not from the perspective of great events and earth-shaking historical moments, but from the day to day struggle of living.  I tend to be cynical about many things related to Social Media networks.  For every nugget such as Pepys and Adams twittering we seem to have five waifish college girls trying to get me to see explicit pictures  or ten self-acknowledged network marketing experts earnestly trying to propel me into the world of .. something, I can’t figure out what they’re talking about.   Still, when I discover something like this, it’s all worth it.  I can always filter out the junk.  In honor of this discover, I have added John Q. Adams and his Twitter feed on the right sidebar here on the Third Point of Singularity blog.  This can easily be added to whatever RSS feed aggregator you use, such as bloglines, or yahoo, or Facebook.  Here is the RSS feed: http://twitter.com/statuses/user_timeline/43919215.rss

Related: John Quincy Adams on Twitter

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One response to “Your History Moment: John Quincy Adams’ diary from the great hereafter

  1. “They offer a window into an entire other world– not from the perspective of great events and earth-shaking historical moments, but from the day to day struggle of living.”

    That’s exactly what makes history interesting to me. I’m looking forward to the Adams tweets. Yay!

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