First Ladies – Abigail Adams

Abigail Adams


Born at Weymouth, Massachusetts, November 11, 1744
While not formally educated, her mother taught her and her sisters to read, write and cipher along with a family library that enabled them to study English and French literature.
Married John Adams, October 25, 1764
Had six children

    Abigail (1765-1813)
    John Quincy Adams (1767-1848)
    Susanna Boylston (1768-1770)
    Charles (1770-1800)
    Thomas Boylston Adams (1772-1832)
    A sixth child, Elizabeth, was stillborn in 1777

In 1784, joined John Adams at his diplomatic post in Paris
The following year she was the wife of the first United States Minister to the Kingdom of Great Britain
From May 16, 1789 – March 4, 1797 she was the first wife of the Vice President of the United States
From March 4, 1797 – March 4, 1801 she was the First Lady of the United States
In 1800, Washington DC became the capital of the United States, and she began to serve as the First Lady of the White House, or President’s House as it was known at that time. It was in the wilderness and was considered to be very primitive conditions.
In 1801, they returned to Quincy, Massachusetts following her husband’s defeat to Thomas Jefferson
She died on October 28, 1818 from typhoid fever.

Interesting fact
From the site National First Ladies Library

As the colonial fight for independence from the mother country ensued, Abigail Adams was appointed by the Massachusetts Colony General Court in 1775, along with Mercy Warren and the governor’s wife Hannah Winthrop to question their fellow Massachusetts women who were charged by their word or action of remaining loyal to the British crown and working against the independence movement. “…you are now a politician and now elected into an important office, that of judges of Tory ladies, which will give you, naturally, an influence with your sex,” her husband wrote her in response to the appointment. This was the first instance of a First Lady who held any quasi-official government position.

Focus while in the White House
She had an active role in politics and policy to the point where she was called “Mrs. President.” She was very vocal about women’s rights and opportunities for women, especially in the field of education. Also, she fought for equal protection under the law for women.

Interesting site that has some of her letters


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