A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.


Abigail Smith Adams

22 November 1744 - 28 October 1818

Abigail Smith Adams was born in Weymouth, Massachusetts to Reverend William and Elizabeth (Quincy) Smith. Although she had no formal schooling, growing up in a parsonage exposed her to sophisticated conversation and the works of Shakespeare, Milton, and Pope. She married John Adams, already a rising lawyer and politician, in October 1764. His lengthy absences from home (traveling the court circuits and attending the Continental Congresses) left Abigail to raise the children and manage the household, farm, and tenants alone. Her husband also increasingly relied on her to help with his business affairs. During the twelve years of John Adams's vice presidency and presidency, Abigail split her time between their home in Quincy and the national capitol in New York, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C., successively. She died at her home in Quincy on 28 October 1818.

Abigail Adams. Pastel by Benjamin Blyth, c. 1766.