Adams, Louisa Catherine, 1775-1852

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Louisa Catherine Adams, the first of America’s First Ladies to be born outside of the United States, did not come to this country until four years after she had married John Quincy Adams. Political enemies sometimes called her English. She was born in London to an English mother, Catherine Nuth Johnson, but her father was American–Joshua Johnson, of Maryland–and he served as United States consul after 1790.

A career diplomat at 27, accredited to the Netherlands, John Quincy developed his interest in charming 19-year-old Louisa when they met in London in 1794. Three years later they were married, and went to Berlin in course of duty. At the Prussian court she displayed the style and grace of a diplomat’s lady; the ways of a Yankee farm community seemed strange indeed in 1801 when she first reached the country of which she was a citizen. Then began years divided among the family home in Quincy, Massachusetts, their house in Boston, and a political home in Washington, D.C.

She left her two older sons in Massachusetts for education in 1809 when she took two-year-old Charles Francis to Russia, where her husband would serve as Minister until 1814. Despite the glamour of the tsar’s court, she had to struggle with cold winters, strange customs, limited funds, and poor health; an infant daughter born in 1811 died the next year. After her husband was named Minister to the United Kingdom, Adams spent two years living once more in the country of her birth.

Appointment of John Quincy as Monroe’s Secretary of State brought the Adamses to Washington in 1817. The pleasure of moving to the White House in 1825 after her husband's election was dimmed by the bitter politics of the election and by Louisa's own poor health. The necessary entertainments were always elegant, however; and her cordial hospitality made the last official reception a gracious occasion although her husband had lost his bid for re-election and partisan feeling still ran high.

Louisa thought she was retiring to Massachusetts permanently, but in 1831 her husband began 17 years of notable service in the House of Representatives. The Adamses could look back on a secure happiness as well as many trials when they celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary at Quincy in 1847. He was fatally stricken at the Capitol the following year; she died in Washington in 1852, and today lies buried at his side in the family church at Quincy.

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Cutts, Mary Estelle Elizabeth. Papers, ca.1855. Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
creatorOf SIGNATURES OF PRESIDENTS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA from George Washington to Dwight David Eisenhower; 1776-aft. 1952. British Library
referencedIn Adams-Johnson family photographs, ca. 1863-1930. Massachusetts Historical Society
referencedIn List of Classified Structures Program, 1955 - 2003 National Archives at Boston
referencedIn Records of the National Park Service, 1785 - 2006. Legislative Files, ca. 2010 - 1/3/2016 National Archives Library, National Archives Records Administration
referencedIn Adams Family Papers, 1776-1948, (bulk 1794-1846) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn Autograph File, A, 1518-2002. Houghton Library
referencedIn Engravings of members of the Adams family University of Virginia. Library
creatorOf Louisa Catherine Adams autograph, undated New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
creatorOf Adams-Johnson-Lynch family papers, 1800-1903. Massachusetts Historical Society
referencedIn Adams family. Adams National Historical Park, Adams family papers, 1745-1927. Becton Dickinson Technology
referencedIn Brown-Ewell family papers, 1781-1984. The Filson Historical Society
referencedIn Thomas Addis Emmet collection, 1483-1876 (bulk:1700-1800) New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn Vaughan, John, 1755-1841. Papers, 1768 - ca. 1936 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn Cutts family papers, 1755-1905 Library of Congress
creatorOf Adams, Louisa Catherine, 1775-1852. Poems [manuscript], n.d. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn William Thornton Papers, 1741-1865 Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn Alexander Bryan Johnson papers, 1823-1861 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
creatorOf Adams family. Adams family papers, 1639-1889, bulk: 1755-1889. Library of Congress
creatorOf Adams, Louisa Catherine, 1775-1852. Poems, n.d. University of Virginia. Library
creatorOf Adams, Abigail, 1744-1818. Adams family papers, 1776-1948 (bulk 1794-1846). Library of Congress
creatorOf Adams, Louisa Catherine, 1775-1852. Letter including a copy of verses by John H. Maxwell concerning the death of John Quincy Adams, 1848 Mar. 23. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn Autograph File, A, 1518-2002. Houghton Library
creatorOf Adams, Henry, 1838-1918. Homans collection, 1816-1918; bulk: 1869-1911. Massachusetts Historical Society
referencedIn Autograph File, A, 1518-2002. Houghton Library
creatorOf Everett-Peabody family papers, 1778-1908 Library of Congress
referencedIn Palfrey family papers, 1713-1915 Houghton Library
referencedIn Tanner Family. Herbert Battles Tanner family papers [microform], 1790-1972. Wisconsin Historical Society Archives
referencedIn Johnson, Alexander Bryan, 1786-1867. Alexander Bryan Johnson papers, 1823-1861 (inclusive). Yale University Library
referencedIn Hopkinson family. Papers, 1735-1941 (bulk 1800-1841) Historical Society of Pennsylvania
referencedIn Challinor, Joan R. Dissertation, 1982. Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
creatorOf Gwathmey collection, 1708-1852 University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Adams, Henry, 1838-1918. Notes : for a biography of Louisa Catherine Adams : manuscript, [1869 Spring] Houghton Library
creatorOf Adams family. Adams-Hull collection, 1775-1856. Massachusetts Historical Society
referencedIn Sumner, Charles, 1811-1874. Correspondence, 1829-1874 Houghton Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
child-in-law of Adams, Abigail, 1744-1818 person
parentOf Adams, Charles Francis, 1807-1886 person
memberOf Adams family (Massachusetts) family
parentOf Adams, George Washington, 1801-1829 person
ancestorOf Adams, Henry, 1838-1918. person
child-in-law of Adams, John, 1735-1826 person
parentOf Adams, John, 1803-1834. person
spouseOf Adams, John Quincy, 1767-1848. person
associatedWith Bryant, William Cullen, 1794-1878 person
associatedWith Challinor, Joan R. person
associatedWith Clark, William George, 1821-1878 person
associatedWith Cutts, Mary Estelle Elizabeth. person
associatedWith Halleck, Fitz-Greene, 1790-1867 person
associatedWith Hopkinson family. family
correspondedWith Hughes, Christopher, 1786-1849 person
associatedWith Johnson, Alexander Bryan, 1786-1867. person
childOf Johnson, Joshua, 1742-1802 person
nieceOrNephewOf Johnson, Thomas, 1732-1819 person
associatedWith Maxwell, John H. person
associatedWith Pierpont, James, 1822-1893 person
associatedWith Sigourney, L. H. (Lydia Howard), 1791-1865 person
associatedWith Stockton, Francis B., -1858 person
correspondedWith Sumner, Charles, 1811-1874 person
associatedWith Sumner, Charles, 1811-1874 person
associatedWith Tanner Family. family
correspondedWith Thornton, William, 1759-1828 person
correspondedWith Vaughan, John, 1756-1841 person
associatedWith Vaughan, John, 1756-1841 person
associatedWith Willis, Nathaniel Parker, 1806-1867 person
Place Name Admin Code Country
District of Columbia DC US
Boston MA US
Washington, D. C. DC US
London ENG GB
Quincy MA US
Nantes 52 FR
Saint Petersburg 66 RU
Subject
Occupation
Presidents' spouses--United States
Function

Person

Birth 1775-02-12

Death 1852-05-15

Female

Americans

English

Information

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