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A Traveled First Lady

A Traveled First Lady

Writings of Louisa Catherine Adams

Louisa Catherine Adams

Edited by Margaret A. Hogan and C. James Taylor

ISBN 9780674048010

Publication date: 03/04/2014

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Congress adjourned on 18 May 1852 for Louisa Catherine Adams’s funeral, according her an honor never before offered a first lady. But her life and influence merited this extraordinary tribute. She had been first the daughter-in-law and then the wife of a president. She had assisted her husband as a diplomat at three of the major capitals of Europe. She had served as a leading hostess and significant figure in Washington for three decades. And yet, a century and a half later, she is barely remembered. A Traveled First Lady: Writings of Louisa Catherine Adams seeks to correct that oversight by sharing Adams’s remarkable experiences in her own words.

These excerpts from diaries and memoirs recount her early years in London and Paris (to this day she is the only foreign-born first lady), her courtship and marriage to John Quincy Adams, her time in the lavish courts of Berlin and St. Petersburg as a diplomat’s wife, and her years aiding John Quincy’s political career in Washington. Emotional, critical, witty, and, in the Adams tradition, always frank, her writings draw sharp portraits of people from every station, both servants and members of the imperial court, and deliver clear, well-informed opinions about the major issues of her day.

Telling the story of her own life, juxtaposed with rich descriptions of European courts, Washington political maneuvers, and the continuing Adams family drama, Louisa Catherine Adams demonstrates why she was once considered one of the preeminent women of the nineteenth century.

Praise

  • A fine new sampling of Louisa’s writings… Louisa Adams was highly intelligent, well educated, and well read. She was a talented writer, as her diary and letters—most notably the correspondence she maintained with her father-in-law, after the death of his wife Abigail—reveal.

    —Susan Dunn, New York Review of Books

Authors

  • Margaret A. Hogan is an independent scholar and former editor of the Adams Papers at the Massachusetts Historical Society.
  • C. James Taylor is former Editor in Chief of the Adams Papers at the Massachusetts Historical Society.

Book Details

  • 416 pages
  • 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
  • Belknap Press
  • Foreword by Laura Bush

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