While John and John Quincy are in Paris, Abigail struggles with the chores of raising three other children and running the family farm on her own. In many ways, she deals with the same pressures single parents experience today. She also sorely misses her eldest son, and she writes to him as often as she can.

When they weren't lost at sea, letters often took months to cross the Atlantic. An answer to a question or concern, then, might not be received for almost half a year. In an age of international telephoning and e-mail, such great gaps in communication are difficult to comprehend.

Image credit:

Abigail Adams. Pastel on paper by Benjamin Blyth, ca. 1766. Massachusetts Historical Society.