A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.
  
INTRODUCTION
ESSAY
TIMELINE
10 ACCOUNTS
BIOGRAPHIES
John Adams  
Abigail Adams
John Quincy Adams  
Joseph Palmer  
Mercy Otis Warren  
James Warren  
John Burgoyne  
Israel Putnam  
Joseph Warren  
Peter Brown  
John Waller  
Nathaniel Ober  
MAPS & VIEWS

 

Abigail Smith Adams (1744-1818)


Abigail Adams. Pastel by Benjamin Blyth, c. 1766

Abigail Smith Adams was born November 11, 1744, in Weymouth, Massachusetts, to the Reverend William and Elizabeth (Quincy) Smith. She had no formal schooling, but her education included reading works by Shakespeare, John Milton, and Alexander Pope. On October 25, 1764, she married John Adams, then a young lawyer in Braintree. The couple had five children, four of whom lived to adulthood, including future president John Quincy Adams. John Adams's protracted absences from home (first while traveling the court circuits and later while at the Continental Congress and on diplomatic assignments abroad) often left Abigail with the children to raise, a farm to manage, the household and tenants to supervise, and extended family and friends to care for—all while the Revolution in Boston unfolded on her doorstep.

The letters she exchanged with John and other family members reveal her cares and worries, her frank opinions and advice, and give an extraordinary view of civilian life during the Revolution. She also took an active interest in the political events of her day; in her letter to John on March 31, 1776, she made one of the earliest known arguments for women's political rights in U.S. history. Abigail Adams died October 28, 1818, at home in Quincy.

For more information about the Adamses and an extended biography of Abigail Adams, please visit The Adams Papers on the MHS website. You can also view a facsimile of the March 31, 1776, letter she wrote to John Adams.

Introduction | Essay | Timeline | 10 Accounts
Biographies |
Maps & Views

 

 

© Copyright 2003. The Massachusetts Historical Society. All rights reserved.
Terms and Conditions.