Abigail Adams was the first First Lady to reside in the White House and second First Lady in American history. She was one of two women who were both the First Lady and the mother of a U.S. president. She urged her husband to “Remember the Ladies” and made herself impossible to forget.
Born Abigail Smith on November 11, 1744, she was the daughter of Elizabeth Quincy and Rev. William Smith, a Congregational minister from Weymouth, Massachusetts. In 1764 Abigail married John Adams, a lawyer from nearby Braintree who would later help draft the Declaration of Independence and play an integral role in shaping the early American republic. Abigail shared John’s devotion to public service and instilled that commitment in their children, most notably in her eldest son, John Quincy Adams. During her husband’s protracted absences, Abigail took charge of the family’s properties and oversaw the children’s early educations. She was an avid reader and took a keen interest in civic and political issues of the time. When she joined her husband in the courts of Europe or the seat of national government, she became an active participant in John’s public career.