55 Facts About Abigail Fillmore


Abigail Fillmore began work as a schoolteacher at the age of 16, where she took on Millard Fillmore, who was two years her junior, as a student.


Abigail Fillmore continued her teaching work after their marriage in 1826 until the birth of her son Millard Powers Fillmore in 1828.


Abigail Fillmore lived in Buffalo, New York while her husband advanced his political career in Albany, New York and Washington, DC Abigail Fillmore would occasionally join him in these cities, becoming involved in local social life.


Abigail Fillmore became the second lady of the United States in 1849 after her husband was elected vice president on the Whig Party presidential ticket, and she became the first lady of the United States in 1850 after her husband succeeded to the presidency.


Abigail Fillmore had a lifelong appreciation for literature and refused to live in a home without books.


Abigail Fillmore was involved in the political aspects of the presidency, and her husband often sought her opinion on state affairs.


Abigail Fillmore took less interest in the role of White House hostess, and she suffered from ailments that prevented her from carrying out some of her duties, including an injured ankle that limited her mobility.


Abigail Fillmore died of pneumonia in 1853, mere weeks after the end of her tenure as first lady.


Abigail Fillmore has received little historical attention; she is considered one of the most obscure first ladies, and much of her correspondences are lost.


Abigail Fillmore was the youngest of seven children born to Reverend Lemuel Powers and Abigail Newland.


Abigail Fillmore's father was the leader of the First Baptist Church until he died when she was two years old.


Abigail Fillmore's father had left behind a large library of his personal books, which Abigail read extensively.


Abigail Fillmore's mother was a schoolteacher who used these books to teach her to read and to appreciate her education.


Abigail Fillmore came to love literature and became proficient in other subjects such as math, government, history, philosophy, and geography.


Abigail Fillmore was made familiar with abolitionism as a child, as the Baptist faith opposed slavery and her family was friends with local abolitionist George Washington Jonson.


In 1814, Abigail Fillmore became a part-time school teacher at the Sempronius Village school.


Abigail Fillmore continued studying further subjects after leaving school, learning to speak French and play the piano.


Millard was not wealthy enough to support a family, and Abigail Fillmore's family discouraged her from marrying the son of a dirt farmer.


Abigail Fillmore was then asked to open up a private school in Broome County; she opened the school, and in 1825, she went back to Sempronius to teach in her original position, where she would found a library.


The Fillmores had two children: their son Millard Powers Fillmore was born in 1828, and their daughter Mary Abigail "Abbie" Fillmore was born in 1832.


Abigail Fillmore was a member of the New York State Assembly at this time, and Abigail was responsible for tending to the house and children on her own while he was away for work.


Abigail Fillmore saw to the construction of Buffalo's first public library, and she grew her own personal collection until it reached 4,000 books.


Abigail Fillmore was responsible for naming the town of Newstead, New York in 1831, suggesting the name in reference to the home of Lord Byron.


Millard was elected as a member of the United States House of Representatives in 1832, and Abigail Fillmore stayed in Buffalo while he was in Washington, DC He stepped down in 1834, but he was elected again in 1836, and this time Abigail Fillmore accompanied him to Washington, leaving the children with relatives in New York.


Abigail Fillmore would write to her children regularly while away, often encouraging self-improvement and scolding them for spelling errors in their replies.


Abigail Fillmore was bedridden until winter and confined to her room for several months thereafter.


Abigail Fillmore became a prominent figure when her husband was nominated as the Whig candidate for vice president in the 1848 presidential election, and she became known to the public through a flattering description in The American Review.


The Whig ticket was elected, and Abigail Fillmore became the second lady of the United States in March 1849.


Abigail Fillmore's health made a return to Washington undesirable, and she remained in Buffalo.


Abigail Fillmore found social life in Washington uninteresting, and she spent much of her time as second lady tending to her sister, who had suffered from a stroke.


Abigail Fillmore briefly visited Washington to see her husband in 1850.


President Zachary Taylor died in July 1850, causing Millard to become president and Abigail Fillmore to become his first lady.


Abigail Fillmore was on vacation in New Jersey with her children when President Taylor died.


Abigail Fillmore had become comfortable in domestic life, and she was apprehensive about the expectations that had been placed suddenly upon her.


Abigail Fillmore took advantage of the cultural elements of Washington while she was first lady, regularly attending art exhibitions and concerts, breaking precedent by traveling without her husband.


Unlike many first ladies, Abigail Fillmore did not extensively redecorate the White House upon entering.


Abigail Fillmore did emphasize the use of mahogany and fine carpets.


Abigail Fillmore oversaw the expansion of the White House heating system and had a kitchen stove installed to replace the practice of cooking by fireplace.


Abigail Fillmore closely followed bills in Congress and other political news, and she was able to discuss them in detail.


Abigail Fillmore valued her opinion, and he reportedly never made any important decision without first consulting her.


Abigail Fillmore may have advised her husband not to sign the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, though he eventually did.


One particular incident that prevented Abigail Fillmore from carrying out her duties was a second injury to her ankle in 1851 that left her incapacitated for weeks.


Abigail Fillmore was relieved from further responsibilities due to the more reserved nature of social life at the White House caused by President Taylor's death and growing political polarization.


The Fillmores decided that a library was a necessary fixture in the White House, as Abigail was accustomed to having books in the home and Millard depended on reference books in his work as president.


Abigail Fillmore took responsibility for the organization and decoration of the room.


Abigail Fillmore modeled the room after the style of Andrew Jackson Downing, using cottage furniture with walnut frames.


Abigail Fillmore hosted writers such as William Thackeray, Charles Dickens, Washington Irving, and Helen Aldrich De Kroyft and performance artists such as Anna Bishop and Jenny Lind, essentially creating a White House literary salon.


Abigail Fillmore spent a large portion of her time as first lady in her library, and Millard often spent an hour in the library at night after leaving the executive chamber.


Abigail Fillmore was the first first lady to attend the inauguration of her successor.


Abigail Fillmore died of her illness in the Willard Hotel on March 30,1853, aged 55.


Abigail Fillmore was laid in state in Washington and then buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo, New York.


Abigail Fillmore has not received significant historical coverage relative to first ladies of other eras, and is often regarded as a less active first lady.


Abigail Fillmore is best remembered for her organization of a library in the White House.


Biographers of Millard Fillmore have generally given little attention to Abigail, in part due to the lack of surviving documents.


Abigail Fillmore is typically recognized as an intellectual and as a supportive influence in the president's life.