LOUISA ADAMS Biography - Socialites, celebrities and People in the fashion industry


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Name: Louisa Catherine Johnson Adams                                                 
Born: February 12, 1775                                                               
Died: May 15, 1852                                                                   
Louisa Catherine Johnson Adams, born Louisa Catherine Johnson (February 12, 1775     
- May 15, 1852), wife of John Quincy Adams, was First Lady of the United States       
from 1825 to 1829.                                                                   
She was born in London to an English mother, Catherine Nuth Johnson, but her         
father was American, Joshua Johnson of Maryland who served as United States           
consulate general in London after 1790. She had a sister, Caroline, and a             
brother, Thomas. Louisa Adams is to date the only foreign-born First Lady. She       
was the daughter-in-law of John Adams, the second president of the U.S., and         
Abigail Adams, second first lady.                                                     
A career diplomat at twenty-seven, accredited to the Netherlands, John Quincy         
Adams developed his interest in nineteen-year-old Louisa when they met in London     
in 1794. Three years later they were married in All Hallows-by-the-Tower, and         
went to Berlin, Prussia, in course of duty. A citizen by birth, she arrived in       
the United States for the first time in 1801. 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 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,     
Louisa had to make 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. Happily, the next two years gave her an interlude of           
family life in the country of her birth.                                             
When John Quincy Adams was appointed James Monroe's U.S. Secretary of State the       
family moved to Washington, D.C., in 1817 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. 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.                                                     
In his diary for June 23, 1828, her husband records her "winding silk from           
several hundred silkworms that she has been rearing", evidently in the White         
House. Diary (New York: Longmans, Green, 1929) p. 380.                               
Louisa 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 Adamses could look back on a secure happiness as well as         
many trials when they celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary at Quincy in     
Her husband died at the U.S. Capitol in 1848; she died in Washington in 1852,         
aged 77, and today lies buried at his side, as well as President John Adams and       
first lady Abigail Adams, in the United First Parish Church in Quincy,               
Massachusetts (also known as the Church of the Presidents).