DATE OF BIRTH: November 11, 1744
PLACE OF BIRTH: Weymouth, Massachusetts
FAMILY BACKGROUND: Abigail Adams was the second child of four children born to Reverend William and Elizabeth Quincy Smith. She married John Adams in 1764 at the age of twenty. The couple had two daughters and three sons: one daughter died in infancy; John Quincy, Charles and Thomas Boylston. Their family home was in Braintree, Massachusetts.
EDUCATION: Much of her education was gained while living with her grandmother, Mrs. John Quincy, in Mount Wollaston.
Mrs. Adams cared for her children at their Braintree home while her husband was an accomplished lawyer. With the American Revolution, she was left largely alone for ten years to run their household. She joined her diplomat husband in Europe in 1784 where they spent eight months in Paris and three years in London. They returned to the United States in 1788 where John Adams served as vice president and president. Abigail spent equal time at the capital and at her family home.
In reviewing her letters from her husband's political life, she shows her commitment to politics and her Federalist beliefs. Even though she suffered through periods of serious illness, she was known as a personable and pleasant individual. After the presidency, she was happy to return to Braintree and resume farming and caring for her family. She died at home of typhoid fever.
DATE OF DEATH: October 28, 1818.
PLACE OF DEATH: Quincy, Massachusetts
Cappon, Lester J., ed. The Adams-Jefferson Letters: the Complete Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson and Abigail and John Adams. Chapel Hill: Published for the Institute of Early American History and Culture at Williamsburg, Virginia by the University of North Carolina Press, 1988.
Adams, Charles Francis. Letters of Mrs. Adams, the Wife of John Adams. With an Introductory Memoir by Her Grandson, Charles Francis Adams. Boston, Wilkins, Carter, and Co., 1848.
Abigail Smith Adams profile from The White House First Ladies
Abigail Adams Grolier Academic American Encyclopedia
Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the husbands. Remember all men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice, or representation.
- Abigail Adams
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