Cover: A Traveled First Lady: Writings of Louisa Catherine Adams, from Harvard University PressCover: A Traveled First Lady in HARDCOVER

A Traveled First Lady

Writings of Louisa Catherine Adams

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Product Details


$35.00 • £28.95 • €31.50

ISBN 9780674048010

Publication Date: 03/04/2014


416 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

34 color illustrations -- in 24pg 4/c insert

Belknap Press


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, The New York Review of Books

Allow[s] Louisa to emerge as a subject herself. In the process, she also becomes newly convincing as a source, especially in connection with her husband’s complicated, grinding ambition, a quality she discerned beneath his cloak of rectitude.—Thomas Mallon, The New Yorker

Highly readable… The book also features a delightful foreword by Laura Bush… ‘Narrative of a Journey from Russia to France’ is the most hair-raising section in the entire collection… It is a story of unimaginable discomfort, absent-minded servants, questionable characters threatening in desolate places, impudent officials, weary soldiers, and filthy lodgings. Above all, it is the tale of a fragile, rugged, determined woman pulling off an adventure as daunting as those of the ragged soldiers she passed.—Janet Tassel, The American Spectator

Here’s history at its best! Louisa Catherine Adams’s shrewd eyewitness accounts document pivotal moments in the country’s formative years. Often laugh-out-loud funny, the writings of this intelligent, insightful woman also provide fascinating context for the career of John Quincy and his contemporaries.—Cokie Roberts, author of Founding Mothers and Ladies of Liberty

This graceful collection of the personal papers of Louisa Catherine Adams, the only first lady to have been foreign-born, is a treasure. Broad in scope but intimate in detail, Louisa’s account of her tour through the courts of Europe and the byways of accomplishment and loss that distinguished the Adams family shines and startles with wit and a woman’s heart wanting to freely ‘breathe its sorrows.’ Henry Adams would write he knew ‘nothing’ of his grandmother’s ‘interior life.’ Fortunate readers will know much more from her bracing words that bring early America to vivid life.—Natalie Dykstra, author of Clover Adams: A Gilded and Heartbreaking Life

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