The Info List - Louisa Adams

Louisa Catherine Johnson Adams (February 12, 1775 – May 15, 1852), wife of John Quincy
John Quincy
Adams, was First Lady of the United States
First Lady of the United States
from 1825 to 1829. The daughter of the American Consul in London, she was the first First Lady to be born outside the United States, or the preceding Thirteen Colonies
Thirteen Colonies
-- a distinction that would not be replicated until 192 years later by Melania Trump.


1 Early life 2 Marriage and children 3 Married life, death 4 First Spouse Coin 5 Family tree 6 Writings 7 References 8 Further reading 9 External links

Early life[edit] Adams was born Louisa Catherine Johnson on February 12, 1775, in London, the daughter of Catherine Nuth, an Englishwoman, and Joshua Johnson, an American merchant, whose brother Thomas Johnson later served as Governor of Maryland
and United States Supreme Court Justice. Joshua Johnson was originally from Maryland. Louisa had six sisters: Ann, Caroline, Harriet, Catherine, Elizabeth, and Adelaide, and a brother, Thomas. She grew up in London
and Nantes, France, where the family took refuge during the American Revolution. Marriage and children[edit] She met John Quincy Adams
John Quincy Adams
at her father's house in Cooper's Row, near Tower Hill, London. Her father had been appointed as United States consul general in 1790, and Adams first visited him in November 1795. Adams at first showed interest in her older sister but soon settled on Louisa. Adams, aged 30, married Louisa, aged 22, on July 26, 1797, at the parish church of All Hallows-by-the-Tower, on Tower Hill. Adams' father, John Adams, then President of the United States
President of the United States
eventually welcomed his daughter-in-law into the family, although they did not meet for several years.[1] Her parents left Europe in 1797 and went to the U.S. When her father was forced into bankruptcy, President John Adams
John Adams
appointed him as U.S. Director of Stamps. Her father died in Frederick, Maryland, in 1802 of severe fever and some mental problems, leaving little provision for his family. Her mother died in September 1811, in her mid-fifties,[2] and is buried in Rock Creek Cemetery. John Quincy Adams
John Quincy Adams
and Louisa Adams
Louisa Adams
had the following children:

George Washington Adams
George Washington Adams
(1801–1829), lawyer John Adams II
John Adams II
(1803–1834), presidential aide Charles Francis Adams (1807–1886), diplomat, public official, and author Louisa Catherine Adams (August 12, 1811 – September 15, 1812), born and died in St Petersburg, Russia, buried in the Lutheran Cemetery there.[3]

Married life, death[edit] Louisa was sickly, plagued by migraine headaches and frequent fainting spells. She had several miscarriages over the course of her marriage. Having grown up in London
and France, she found Massachusetts dull and provincial, and referred to the Adams family home as being "like something out of Noah's Ark". On the other hand she developed a warm affection for her father-in-law, and despite occasional differences, a deep respect for her mother-in-law, whom she later described as "the guiding planet round which we all revolved". She left her two older sons in Massachusetts for education in 1809 when she took two-year-old Charles Francis Adams to Russia, where Adams served as a Minister. 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. Peace negotiations called Adams to Ghent
in 1814 and then to London. To join him, she made a forty-day journey across war-ravaged Europe by coach in winter. Roving bands of stragglers and highwaymen filled her with "unspeakable terrors" for her son. The next two years gave her an interlude of family life in the country of her birth. When John Quincy Adams
John Quincy Adams
was appointed James Monroe's Secretary of State in 1817, the family moved to Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
where Louisa's drawing room became a center for the diplomatic corps and other notables. Music enhanced her Tuesday evenings at home, and theater parties contributed to her reputation as an outstanding hostess. The pleasures of moving into the White House in 1825 were dimmed by the bitter politics of the election, paired with her deep depression. Though she continued her weekly "drawing rooms", she preferred quiet evenings of reading, composing music and verse, and playing her harp. As First Lady, she became reclusive and depressed. For a time, she regretted ever having married into the Adams family, the men of which she found cold and insensitive. The necessary entertainments were always elegant 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. In his diary for June 23, 1828, her husband recorded her "winding silk from several hundred silkworms that she has been rearing," evidently in the White House.[4] She thought she was retiring to Massachusetts permanently, but in 1831 her husband began seventeen years of service in the United States House of Representatives. The untimely deaths of her two oldest sons added to her burdens. "Our union has not been without its trials," John Quincy
John Quincy
Adams conceded. He acknowledged many "differences of sentiment, of tastes, and of opinions in regard to domestic economy, and to the education of children between us." But added that "she always has been a faithful and affectionate wife, and a careful, tender, indulgent, and watchful mother to our children." Her husband died at the United States Capitol
United States Capitol
in 1848. She remained in Washington until her death of a heart attack on May 15, 1852, at the age of 77. The day of her funeral was the first time both houses of the United States Congress adjourned in mourning for any woman.[5] She is entombed at her husband's side, along with her parents-in-law President John Adams
John Adams
and first lady Abigail Adams, in the United First Parish Church in Quincy, Massachusetts. First Spouse Coin[edit]

External video

First Lady Louisa Adams, C‑SPAN[6]

The First Spouse Program
First Spouse Program
under the Presidential $1 Coin Act
Presidential $1 Coin Act
authorizes the United States Mint
United States Mint
to issue 1/2 ounce $10 gold coins and medal duplicates[7] to honor the first spouses of the United States. Louisa Adams' coin was released May 29, 2008.



Obverse (bronze medal)

Reverse (bronze medal)

Family tree[edit]

v t e

Adams family tree









John Adams (1735–1826)


Abigail Adams
Abigail Adams
(née Smith) (1744–1818)
















































William Stephens Smith (1755–1815)


Abigail Amelia Adams Smith (1765–1813)


John Quincy
John Quincy
Adams (1767–1848)


Louisa Catherine Adams (née Johnson) (1775–1852)


Charles Adams (1770–1800)


Thomas Boylston Adams (1772–1832)


































George Washington Adams (1801–1829)


John Adams
John Adams
II (1803–1834)


Charles Francis Adams Sr. (1807–1886)


Abigail Brown Adams (née Brooks) (1808–1889)
















































Frances Cadwalader Crowninshield (1839–1911)


John Quincy Adams
John Quincy Adams
II (1833–1894)


Charles Francis Adams Jr. (1835–1915)


Henry Brooks Adams (1838–1918)


Marian Hooper Adams (1843–1885)


Peter Chardon Brooks Adams (1848–1927)










































George Casper Adams (1863–1900)


Charles Francis Adams III (1866–1954)


Frances Adams (née Lovering) (1869–1956)





John Adams (1875–1964)




































Charles Francis Adams IV (1910–1999)


Catherine Lovering Adams Morgan (1902–1988)


Henry Sturgis Morgan (1900–1982)


Thomas Boylston Adams (1910–1997)




The Diary and Autobiographical Writings of Louisa Catherine Adams: 1778 -1850, 2 vols., The Adams Papers (Harvard University Press: 2013) Margaret A. Hogan and C. James Taylor, editors, A Traveled First Lady: Writings of Louisa Catherine Adams (Cambridge: Belknap Press, 2014)


^ Lewis L. Gould, American First Ladies: Their Lives and Their Legacy (2014), pp. 45–48 ^ O'Brien, Mrs. Adams in Winter, 249 ^ O'Brien, Mrs. Adams in Winter, 248–52 ^ Diary (New York: Longmans, Green, 1929) p. 380 ^ " Louisa Adams
Louisa Adams
– First Ladies". HISTORY.com. Retrieved 2016-04-16.  ^ "First Lady Louisa Adams". C‑SPAN. March 18, 2013. Retrieved March 25, 2013.  ^ U.S. Mint: First Spouse Program. Accessed June 27, 2008. "The United States Mint also produces and make available to the public bronze medal duplicates of the First Spouse Gold Coins."

Further reading[edit]

Cook, Jane Hampton. American Phoenix: John Quincy
John Quincy
and Louisa Adams, the War of 1812, and the Exile that Saved American Independence (Thomas Nelson: 2013) Heffron, Margery M. Louisa Catherine: The Other Mrs. Adams (Yale University Press, 2014) x, 416 pp. Nagel, Paul. The Adams Women: Abigail and Louisa Adams, Their Sisters and Daughters (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1987) O'Brien, Michael. Mrs. Adams in Winter: A Journey in the Last Days of Napoleon (NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2010) Schneider, Dorothy, and Carl J. Schneider, First Ladies: A Biographical Dictionary (Facts on File: 2010), "Louis Catherine Johnson Adams", 42–52 Thomas, Louisa. Louisa: The Extraordinary Life of Mrs. Adams (New York: Penguin, 2016). ISBN 9781594204630

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Louisa Adams.

Louisa Adams
Louisa Adams
at C-SPAN's First Ladies: Influence & Image

Honorary titles

Preceded by Elizabeth Monroe First Lady of the United States 1825–1829 Succeeded by Emily Donelson De facto

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First Ladies
First Ladies
of the United States

Martha Washington Abigail Adams Martha Jefferson Randolph Dolley Madison Elizabeth Monroe Louisa Adams Emily Donelson Sarah Jackson Angelica Van Buren Anna Harrison Jane Harrison Letitia Tyler Priscilla Tyler Julia Tyler Sarah Polk Margaret Taylor Abigail Fillmore Jane Pierce Harriet Lane Mary Todd Lincoln Eliza Johnson Julia Grant Lucy Hayes Lucretia Garfield Mary McElroy Rose Cleveland Frances Cleveland Caroline Harrison Mary Harrison Frances Cleveland Ida McKinley Edith Roosevelt Helen Taft Ellen Wilson Margaret Wilson Edith Wilson Florence Harding Grace Coolidge Lou Hoover Eleanor Roosevelt Bess Truman Mamie Eisenhower Jacqueline Kennedy Lady Bird Johnson Pat Nixon Betty Ford Rosalynn Carter Nancy Reagan Barbara Bush Hillary Clinton Laura Bush Michelle Obama Melania Trump

First Lady of the United States National Historic Site First Ladies: Influence & Image

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John Quincy
John Quincy

United States House of Representatives, 1831–1848 6th President of the United States, 1825–1829 8th U.S. Secretary of State, 1817–1825 U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom, 1814–1817 1st U.S. Minister to Russia, 1809–1814 Massachusetts State Senate, 1803–1808 U.S. Minister to Prussia, 1797–1801 U.S. Ambassador to the Netherlands, 1794–1797


Inauguration American System Internal improvements Tariff of 1828 First Treaty of Prairie du Chien Treaty of Fond du Lac Treaty of Limits United States Naval Observatory Abdulrahman Ibrahim Ibn Sori State of the Union Address, 1825 1827 1828 Federal judiciary appointments

Other events

Monroe Doctrine, author Treaty of Ghent Adams–Onís Treaty Treaty of 1818 Smithsonian Institution United States v. The Amistad

Mendi Bible

President, American Academy of Arts and Sciences President, Columbian Institute for the Promotion of Arts and Sciences


Lifelong diary Massachusetts Historical Society holdings

Adams Papers Editorial Project

Life and homes

Early life Abigail Adams
Abigail Adams
Cairn John Quincy Adams
John Quincy Adams
and abolitionism Adams National Historical Park

Birthplace and family home Peacefield Presidential Library

United First Parish Church
United First Parish Church
and gravesite


United States presidential election, 1824

Corrupt Bargain

United States presidential election, 1828


Adams Memorial Adams House at Harvard University U.S. Postage stamps Monroe Doctrine
Monroe Doctrine
Centennial half dollar

Popular culture

Profiles in Courage
Profiles in Courage
(1957 book 1965 television series) The Adams Chronicles (1976 miniseries) Mutiny on the Amistad
Mutiny on the Amistad
(1987 book) Amistad (1997 film) John Adams
John Adams
(2001 book 2008 miniseries)

Adams family Quincy family

Louisa Adams
Louisa Adams
(wife) George W. Adams (son) Charles Adams Sr. (son) John Adams II
John Adams II
(son) Henry Adams
Henry Adams
(grandson) Brooks Adams
Brooks Adams
(grandson) John Quincy Adams
John Quincy Adams
II (grandson) John Adams

father presidency

Abigail Adams

mother First Lady Quincy family

Abigail Adams
Abigail Adams
Smith (sister) Charles Adams (brother) Thomas Boylston Adams (brother) John Adams
John Adams
Sr. (paternal grandfather) Susanna Boylston (paternal grandmother) Elihu Adams (paternal uncle) John Quincy
John Quincy


National Republican Party Republicanism Quincy Patriot

← James Monroe Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson


Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 52597139 LCCN: n86022545 ISNI: 0000 0000 2518 2294 GND: 123455456 BNF: cb16705317z (data) SN