The only example of Adams signing a membership for this Society that we have ever seen.
The Massachusetts Society for Promoting Agriculture was one of the earliest agricultural societies in the United States, being incorporated in 1792. Among the founding members were Samuel Adams (who hosted the first meeting), Charles Bulfinch, Timothy Pickering, and Benjamin Lincoln. These were presently joined by John Adams, John Hancock, Robert Treat Paine,...
The Massachusetts Society for Promoting Agriculture was one of the earliest agricultural societies in the United States, being incorporated in 1792. Among the founding members were Samuel Adams (who hosted the first meeting), Charles Bulfinch, Timothy Pickering, and Benjamin Lincoln. These were presently joined by John Adams, John Hancock, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry, Artemas Ward, and other national figures from Massachusetts.
The Society's purpose was to encourage agricultural pursuits and experiments designed to advance agricultural technology and disseminate information. It sought to join the ranks of the agricultural societies in Britain and America "whose particular business is to make experiments themselves and invite others thereto on the subject of agriculture…[and] to give handsome premiums to the men of enterprise who have by their inquiries made useful discoveries and communicated them to the public.". Prizes were offered for the cultivation of wheat and other grains; the improvement of land, including the reclamation of salt marshes; the raising of trees; the greatest stock maintained on the least land; the best vegetable food for wintering stock; the most and best wool from a given number of sheep; the best process for making cider, maple sugar, butter, cheese, flax, and salted provisions; and for the best farm journals, manures, tree plantations, advances in ploughs and ploughing techniques, and other farming matters in general. In 1801, the Society voted to establish a professorship of natural history at Harvard, which served as the origin of the Botanical Garden at Cambridge.
John Adams was always interested in pursuits that would improve the fledgling United States, such as education, science, industry, and, of course, agriculture. He served as the Society’s president from 1805 to 1813. Gorham Parsons was a noted Massachusetts farmer who owned two farms, raised crops and fruit, and imported and raised livestock. He became a member of the Society in 1809, and won, as the New England Historical and Genealogical Register noted, “numerous and valuable prizes awarded for fine specimens of livestock and various agricultural products.” The was the kind of farmer Adams most valued.
Document signed, Massachusetts, July 25, 1809, being Parsons’ membership certificate in the Society, and attesting that he is entitled to “all the rights and privileges of a member thereof.” Adams has signed as Society president and John T. Kirkland as secretary. The seal is still present. Interestingly, the next year Kirkland became the fifteenth President of Harvard College.
This is a rare Adams signed document, as we have never seen one before in all our years in this field. A search of public sale records going back 40 years fails to turn up one either.
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