Abigail and John LP: Portrait of a Marriage

6 Nov

Abigail and John LP: Portrait of a Marriage

Abigail and John LP: Portrait of a Marriage

Language: English

Pages: 660

ISBN: B008W2Z8T6

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

“Fascinating...Gelles has provided a balanced portrait, and her mastery of the period’s issues and history is evident on every page. Her treatment of the family... [is] written with understanding and sensitivity... But it is her strength as a feminist historian that makes her treatment of Abigail the most gripping... masterful and captivating.”
Washington Times

“A landmark... Well-organized and expertly composed, the book is an impressive addition to the nation’s written history.”
Oklahoma City Oklahoman

Readers who enjoyed Doris Kearns Goodwin’s No Ordinary Time, Cokie Roberts’s Founding Mothers, and David McCullough’s John Adams will love “this eminently readable… charming and sensitive, yet candid and unflinching joint biography” (Daniel Walker Howe, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848) of America’s original “power couple”: Abigail and John Adams.













the opening chapter to the tale that complicated their dialogue for the two years before Abigail decided to travel to Europe. Royall Tyler, as Abigail wrote to John, had arrived in Braintree early in 1782 and opened a law practice. He boarded with Mary and Richard Cranch, sister and brother-in-law of Abigail and parents of two teenage daughters, Lucy and Betsy. Tyler, rather than pursuing a Cranch daughter, turned his attentions to their sixteen-year-old cousin, Nabby Adams. If his visits to the

southwest of Paris. John had chosen this suburban residence for several reasons. Always conscious of his health, he could exercise daily in the nearby Bois de Boulogne. It would be convenient as well to Benjamin Franklin, the least mobile of the American ministers, who lived in neighboring Passy, where much of the Americans’ business was conducted. Primarily the choice of the Auteuil house was dictated by economy; Paris was expensive and American ministers’ salaries were meager. At times John had

the offspring of clergymen. She reported to Mercy that only in the family of Mr. Grand, “a Protestant,” did she observe “decorum and decency of manners, a conjugal and family affection.” For the first time in her life, Abigail discovered how it felt to be socially marginal, in great part because France was a Catholic country. The immensity, the art and architecture, of the churches impressed her, but she described them as literally and figuratively cold. She disapproved of social conduct on the

appointment, and who had also recently arrived in London. “Mr Smith,” she allowed, “appears to be a Modest worthy Man, if I may judge from so short an acquaintance. I think we shall have much pleasure in our connection with him.” Little did Abigail know that she was describing her future son-in-law. Nabby’s romance with Royall Tyler had cooled. In fact, Tyler had disappeared from view after the Abigails’ departure for Europe. For more than a year, he did not write to any of them, including

he ever was his own enemy.” Following their marriage, the newlywed Smiths moved into their own home on Wimpole Street, and Abigail, especially, felt the loss of her daughter’s companionship. This was, in fact, the first time since her early marriage that she lived without any of her children. She would turn forty-two in the fall and John fifty-two. To her sister Elizabeth, she acknowledged: “I do not wonder now as I formerly did that people who have no children substitute cats, dogs, birds,

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