John Adams's personal library revealed in traveling exhibition

Contact: Angela Thullen

Program Officer, Communications

(312) 280-5286

For Immediate Release,

February 5, 2008

John Adams’s personal library revealed in traveling exhibition

Apply by April 4 to host “John Adams Unbound”

CHICAGO - The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office are now accepting applications for “John Adams Unbound,” a traveling exhibition based upon a larger exhibition of the same name recently on display at the Boston Public Library. The traveling exhibition is made possible by a grant from the NEH to the Boston Public Library.

Librarians applying to host “John Adams Unbound” in their public, academic or special library must register their institution at Prospective applicants are advised to register with as soon as possible, as the process can take up to two weeks to complete. The application and guidelines for “John Adams Unbound” and complete instructions for registering and applying through may be found at Online applications must be completed by
April 4. Applications may not be submitted through ALA.

Successful applicants will host the 1,000-square-foot exhibit for six weeks and receive a $2,500 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for attendance at an exhibit planning workshop and other exhibit-related expenses. Participating libraries are expected to present at least two free public programs featuring a lecture or discussion by a qualified scholar on exhibition themes. All showings of the exhibition must be free and open to the public.

“John Adams Unbound” explores Adams's personal library - a collection of 3,500 books willed by Adams to the people of Massachusetts and deposited in the Boston Public Library in 1894. This remarkable collection of books provides first-hand insight into how John Adams shaped American history, and how he was shaped through his lifelong dedication to reading and books. Through photo-reproductions of these annotated volumes, viewers will witness one of our Founding Fathers wrestling with intellectual and political ideas at every stage in his long life - as a boy, university student, Boston lawyer, revolutionary, diplomat, President and citizen of the early American republic.

Established in 1992, the ALA Public Programs Office has a strong track record of developing library programming initiatives, including the acclaimed reading and discussion series "Let's Talk About It!," film discussion programs on humanities themes, traveling exhibitions, LIVE! @ your library® and other programs. Recently, it has established the Cultural Communities Fund, an endowment fund created to help all types of libraries across the country bring communities together through cultural programming ( More than 10,000 libraries and at least 10 million individuals have participated in library programming initiatives supported by the Public Programs Office.

For more information about “John Adams Unbound,” visit