Brought to you by the Massachusetts Historical Society

"I have nothing to do here, but to take the Air, enquire for News, talk Politicks and write Letters."

John Adams to Abigail Adams, 30 June 1774

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Fun with searching

When editing individual records in the Adams slip file, it helps to use a unique keyword or phrase to limit your search results and pinpoint the exact slip you're looking for. Case in point: I was adding document types to records and came across a slip containing the phrase "bill for manure." I typed that phrase into my search box, confident I would retrieve only the specific record I was looking for. Imagine my surprise when I retrieved four! All four bills date from the year 1880 and belong to Charles Francis Adams (1807-1886). Expanding my search to just the word "manure," I found another bill, which I hadn't initially retrieved because of the variant phrasing on the slip. A sixth result was a letter from Charles' grandfather John Adams to Cotton Tufts, dated 80 years earlier, about a funeral oration for George Washington. John then goes on: "The transition to be sure from such a subject to my uncultivated business is very abrupt. But I must say a few words....I hope Porter has carted or shedded all the manure on the Hill....I wish you would contract with Carter to bring me up an hundred Loads."

Image of Charles Francis Adams from the Portraits of American Abolitionists photograph collection at the MHS.

No comments:

Post a Comment