Reading the first lady’s mail
Speaker shares Adams family letters
C. James Taylor will present “Reading the Founding Fathers (and Mothers) Mail” at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 14, at the Waupaca Area Public Library.
Hosted by Winchester Academy, the program is free and open to the public.
Taylor is editor in chief emeritus, of The Adams Papers for the Massachusetts Historical Society.
He will discuss the correspondence and diaries of the two Adams presidents and their wives: John and Abigail Adams and John Quincy and Louisa Catherine Adams.
Focusing on materials from his book My Dearest Friend, Letters of Abigail and John Adams, Taylor will relate that in 1762, John Adams penned a flirtatious note to “Miss Adorable,” the 17-year-old Abigail Smith.
Nearly 40 years later, in 1801, Abigail wrote to wish her husband John a safe journey as he headed home to Quincy after serving as president of the nation he helped create.
The letters that span these years reveal one of the most intriguing and inspiring partnerships in American history.
Separated more often than they were together during this founding era, John and Abigail Adams shared their lives through letters that each addressed to “My Dearest Friend,” debating ideas and commenting on current events while attending to the concerns of raising their children.
Presenting from another book he authored, A Traveled First Lady: Writings of Louisa Catherine Adams, Taylor will share Louise Adams’s remarkable experiences in her own words. She had been first the daughter-in-law and then the wife of a president.
She had assisted her husband, John Quincy Adams, as a diplomat at three of the major capitals of Europe. She served as a leading hostess and significant figure in Washington for three decades.
In these excerpts from diaries and memoirs, Taylor will recount Louisa’s 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.
Taylor received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, his master’s degree in history from the University of Arkansas, and his doctorate in history from the University of Tennessee.
Winchester Academy is funded through sponsors and tax-deductible donations. Taylor’s program is sponsored by Dave Hathaway.
For more information about Winchester Academy, check winchesteracademywaupaca.org, follow the group on Facebook, or contact Executive Director Ann Buerger Linden at 815-58-2927 or firstname.lastname@example.org.