John Singleton Copley (1738—1815)

by John Singleton Copley (1738—1815)

Oil on copper. National Portrait Gallery (Smithsonian), Washington, DC.

Uncle to John Hancock, to whom he left his fortune.

by John Singleton Copley (1738—1815)

Oil on canvas; 242.7 x 150.9 cm (95 9/16 x 59 7/16 in). Harvard University Portrait Collection, Cambridge, MA.

by John Singleton Copley (1738—1815)

Oil on canvas; 145.73 x 122.24 cm (57 3/8 x 48 1/8 in). Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA.

by John Singleton Copley (1738—1815)

Oil on canvas; 50 x 40 in. (127.00 x 101.60 cm.). Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA.

by John Singleton Copley (1738—1815)

Oil on canvas; 50 x 40 in. (127 x 101.6 cm ). Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA.

by John Singleton Copley (1738—1815)

Oil on canvas; 50 3/8 x 40 1/4 in. Wichita Art Museum, Wichita, KA.

Known as Colonel James.

by John Singleton Copley (1738—1815)

Oil on canvas; 50 1/2 x 40 5/8 in. Wichita Art Museum, Wichita, KA.

by John Singleton Copley (1738—1815)

Pastel on laid paper; w:36.8 x h:44.5 cm. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX.

by John Singleton Copley (1738—1815)

Oil on canvas; 127 x 101.92 cm (50 x 40 1/8 in). Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA.

by John Singleton Copley (1738—1815)

Oil on canvas; 126.05 x 100.33 cm (49 5/8 x 39 1/2 in. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA.

But Adams did not just read books. He battled them. The casual presumption that there is some kind of rough correlation between the books in the library of any prominent historical figure and the person’s cast of mind would encounter catastrophe with Adams, because he tended to buy and read book with which he profoundly disagreed. Then, as he read, he recorded in the margins and at the bottom of the pages his usually hostile opinions of the arguments and authors.... [T]he Adams marginalia constitute evidence more revealing of his convictions about political theory than any of his official publications.

Joseph J. Ellis
Passionate Sage: The Character and Legacy of John Adams (1993)