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 Abigail <I>Smith</I> Adams

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Abigail Smith Adams

Presidential First lady. She was the wife of second United States President John Adams, and the mother of sixth United States President John Quincy Adams. Born in Weymouth, Massachusetts, on her mother's side she was descended from early prestigious leaders of the colony. Having received a basic education from her mother, Abigail and her sisters were largely self-taught by utilizing the extensive libraries of their father, grandfather and uncle. An avid reader, Abigail formed a strong bond with her third cousin, John Adams, who was a Harvard graduate, and they were married in 1764; three sons and two daughters were born to this union, which was to last more than fifty years. John’s traveling as a circuit judge, a delegate to the Continental Congress and an envoy abroad led to long separations, and Abigail’s many letters, written just a she spoke, with clarity, told the vivid story of a woman who stayed at home dealing with wartime shortages, running a farm with minimal help and educating her children. Even before the colonies had declared their independence from Britain, Abigail wrote to John to urge him to “Remember the ladies” when drafting the basis of law for the new nation and to not give husbands unlimited power over their wives. Abigail joined John in Paris in 1784 when he was named Ambassador, and she took great interest in the customs of the French Royal Court. When her husband became the first Vice President of the United States, she and the President’s wife, Martha Washington, became good friends. Abigail was of great assistance in the official entertaining because of the experience she had gained from the courts and society abroad. When John Adams was elected President, she managed to continue a formal pattern of entertaining in spite of the primitive conditions of the “President’s House” (now known as the White House), which was still under construction. After John Adams’s presidential term ended in 1801, they retired to Quincy, Massachusetts and enjoyed seventeen years of companionship that they had longed for during the years of public life. Abigail’s correspondence is feted for exhibiting strong leadership of Women's Rights.

Bio by: D C McJonathan-Swarm


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 1 Jan 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 4
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Abigail Smith Adams (22 Nov 1744–28 Oct 1818), Find A Grave Memorial no. 4, citing United First Parish Church, Quincy, Norfolk County, Massachusetts, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .