John and Abigail Adams
John Adams was born in 1735. The woman who would later become his wife, Abigail Smith, was born 9 years later in 1744. During the year 1762, the couple exchanged many letters during their courtship. John and Abigail married on October 25, 1764. Correspondence letters between John and Abigail Smith Adams would continue throughout their marriage and total 1160 letters which are now part of the Adams Family Papers of the Massachusetts Historical Society. John wrote about his experiences in the Continental Congress and his European travels while Abigail wrote about the couple’s family and farm. She also kept John informed about how the American Revolution was affecting their home and life in Boston.
The Massachusetts Historical Society and the Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive
for public view on their website. Most of the letters preserved by the historical society are the letters originally received by either John or Abigail. Some of the letters are copies which the original sender made and kept for his or her own records which are called letter-book copies. A few letters are draft copies and one letter was intercepted during the American Revolution and published in a newspaper. That letter was published as dated July 24, 1775 but the location of the original letter is unknown.The Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive presents images of all 1160 letters between John and Abigail Adams. Beside the full color digital image of each letter is an electronic transcript to make it easier to read the letters.
The Content of the Letters
The letters written between John and Abigail openly portray the couples love and devotion to one another while keeping each other well informed about their family and political processes while they spent a great deal of time apart. Having personally read several of the letters, I have determined that Abigail had no problem expressing to her husband her opinion about what the role of women in the home and in society should be. In a letter written to John on March 7, 1776, Abigail writes,
“I long to hear that you have declared an independency. And, by the way, in the new code of laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make, I desire you would remember the ladies and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors.”
John’s letters to Abigail made her well aware of her husband’s desire to be home with his family in the land he loved, but his letters are also filled with valuable information about diplomatic and military
processes just before, during, and after the American Revolution.
Though John missed his family, he knew the importance of his work. On July 3, 1776, John wrote to Abigail,
“But the Day is past. The Second Day of July 1776 will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America.”
Read the Letters!
For More About John and Abigail Adams’ Letters
- Some letters between John and Abigail Adams « Steps in a Peregrine Rainscape
York July 1st: 1774 I am so idle, that I have not an easy Moment, without my Pen in my Hand. My Time might have been improved to some Purpose, in mowing Grass, raking Hay, or hoeing Corn, weeding Carrotts, picking or shelling Peas.
Continental Congressman John Adams and his wife, Abigail write each other 1,160 letters on topics ranging from politics and military strategy to household economy and family health.
- LETTERS OF ABIGAIL ADAMS
Abigail Adams, woman suffrage, legal research library, family law politics,
children’s issues, divorce, custody, women’s rights, history, education,
law, psychology, and child development resources.