74 Facts About Louisa Adams


Louisa Catherine Adams was the first lady of the United States from 1825 to 1829 during the presidency of John Quincy Adams.


Louisa Adams was born in England and raised in France.


Louisa Adams's father was an influential American merchant, and she was regularly introduced to prominent Americans.


Louisa Adams joined her husband on his diplomatic mission to Prussia, where she was popular with the Prussian court.


Louisa Adams lived in Russia alone for a year while John negotiated the Treaty of Ghent, and when he asked her to join him in 1815, she made the dangerous 40 day journey across war-torn Europe.


Louisa Adams became a prominent cabinet wife and regularly hosted important guests in her home.


Louisa Adams worked to build connections for her husband's 1824 presidential run, allowing for his victory.


Louisa Adams was unsatisfied in the White House, where she became reclusive and grew distant from her husband.


Louisa Adams instead took to writing, producing plays, essays, poems, and an autobiography.


Louisa Adams wished for retirement after her husband lost reelection, but he was elected to the United States House of Representatives.


Louisa Adams took a more active interest in politics, supporting abolitionism and greater rights for women in society.


Louisa Adams was widowed in 1848, and she suffered a stroke in 1849 that left her with limited mobility.


Louisa Adams died on May 15,1852, and Congress adjourned for her funeral, the first time a woman was honored in this way.


Louisa Adams was the only foreign-born first lady of the United States until 2017, when Melania Trump became first lady.


Louisa Adams is generally rated in the upper half of first ladies by historians.


Louisa Adams was the second daughter of American merchant Joshua Johnson and British woman Catherine Nuth.


Louisa Adams lived a comfortable life as a child in which all of her needs were seen to.


Louisa Adams's father supported American independence, and the Johnsons left England in 1778 in response to the American Revolutionary War.


Louisa Adams performed well in school, becoming proficient in music and literature, and she learned to speak French fluently.


The Johnsons returned to England and settled in Tower Hill, while Louisa Adams was placed in a London boarding school.


Louisa Adams was teased for her French mannerisms, and the Catholicism that she had learned in France caused conflict with her religious education in England.


Louisa Adams's self-esteem suffered, and she kept a distance from her peers.


Louisa Adams was sent to be educated by John Hewlett, an Anglican minister and a family friend of the Johnsons.


John Quincy Louisa Adams became one such guest in 1795 in his capacity as an American diplomat.


Louisa Adams began showing up each day, and only later did the Johnsons realize that he intended to court Louisa, initially believing that his interest was in her older sister Nancy.


Johnson and Louisa Adams began a courtship, though it was intermittent, and they did not immediately take to one another.


Johnson and Louisa Adams were engaged by 1796, but Louisa Adams left England for work and provided a number of excuses as to why he felt they should not be wed, citing his work, his finances, and their personality conflicts.


Louisa Adams's parents fled the country, leaving Louisa Adams and John with little financial support and a mob of angry creditors.


Louisa Adams experienced several miscarriages over the following years, causing poor health that further strained her relationship with her husband.


Louisa Adams eventually gave birth to their first child, George Washington Adams, in 1801.


Louisa Adams took a prominent role in diplomatic proceedings when she was not ill from pregnancy, and she was popular among the Prussian aristocracy, personally befriending the king and queen.


Louisa Adams reunited with her family after arriving at the United States in 1801 while her husband went to his own family home in Quincy, Massachusetts.


Louisa Adams was often left behind while her husband traveled on his own, which she deeply resented.


Louisa Adams's husband resigned from the Senate in 1808, having come in disagreement with the Federalist Party over matters of policy.


Louisa Adams determined that she would accompany him and that their two older sons would stay behind in the United States.


Louisa Adams came to regret these arrangements, feeling that she had failed her sons by leaving them.


Louisa Adams blamed and resented her husband for this, causing a rift in their marriage.


Louisa Adams's opinion did not change after arriving in Saint Petersburg, which she found disagreeable, but her husband ignored her desires to return to the United States.


Just as she did in Berlin, Louisa Adams impressed the Russian court and received special attention from the monarch.


When John was called to Ghent in 1814 to negotiate a peace agreement for the War of 1812, Louisa Adams was left in Saint Petersburg, where she would remain for the next year.


Louisa Adams left in February 1815, and for the next 40 days she made the dangerous journey across Europe, which had been ravaged Napoleonic Wars, in the cold winter.


Louisa Adams was frequently in danger of bandits, and later of French soldiers that were hostile to her Russian carriage.


Louisa Adams lived more comfortably in London than she had elsewhere; the diplomatic responsibilities were lighter, and she had regular access to an Anglican church.


Louisa Adams found the social politics of Washington distasteful, and she felt that John was too good for it.


Louisa Adams's most celebrated accomplishment in this role was the ball that she threw for Andrew Jackson in January 1824, which came to be recognized as one of the city's grandest social events.


Louisa Adams suffered from loneliness while in the White House, which she did not consider a home.


Louisa Adams responded to the criticism by holding a public exhibition of the home, which was then criticized as distasteful.


Louisa Adams herself became a target in political rhetoric against John, in which she was portrayed as an out of touch European that demanded to be treated as an aristocrat.


Louisa Adams had always been vulnerable to illness, but her health worsened during her years in the White House, and she was left bedridden on multiple occasions.


Louisa Adams became less visible as first lady, and even when she did entertain, she often did not attend her own events.


Louisa Adams had faced criticism for being more prominent than was expected of a political wife.


Louisa Adams was responsible for making arrangements when Lafayette visited the White House.


Louisa Adams mourned privately, as she had considered her father-in-law to be a father of her own.


Louisa Adams again worked to campaign for her husband during the 1828 presidential election, traveling to neighboring states to garner support.


Louisa Adams was conflicted, as she was determined to get her husband reelected, but she loathed White House life.


Louisa Adams's reprieve was short-lived, as shortly after she left the White House, her son George fell from a steamboat to his death.


Louisa Adams had suffered from extensive personal and financial problems, and it was never conclusively determined whether his death was an accident or a suicide.


Louisa Adams fell severely ill, and the trip was canceled.


Louisa Adams was upset by John's return to public life when he ran for Congress that year, at first refusing to return to Washington and only giving in after it became apparent that the home in Quincy was not habitable in the winter.


Louisa Adams confessed her belief that having her husband in Congress would be a benefit to the country that outweighed her own suffering.


Louisa's son John Adams II died of illness in 1834 with financial problems of his own.


Louisa Adams blamed her husband in part for the failures and deaths of their two older sons, believing that they could have been given better lives had they not been separated from their parents in their childhood.


Louisa Adams contributed to a fund to free slaves, and she eventually purchased a slave for the purpose of freeing her.


Louisa Adams was widowed on February 23,1848, two days after her husband lost consciousness in the United States Capitol.


Louisa Adams had arrived in Washington to visit him on his deathbed, but as a woman, she was asked to leave as his health failed.


Louisa Adams retained her schedule of living in Washington during the winters and Quincy during the summers until a stroke left her infirm in 1849.


Louisa Adams was then left in the care of her daughter-in-law Mary.


Louisa Adams was the first woman to be honored by an adjournment of Congress for her funeral.


Louisa Adams was buried in the Congressional Cemetery, but she was moved to the United First Parish Church shortly after on the initiative of her son.


Louisa Adams was reclusive during her tenure, and she did not have significant influence in shaping the role.


Louisa Adams was the first foreign-born US first lady, as she was born in England and did not visit the United States until adulthood.


Louisa Adams remained the only foreign born first lady until Slovenian-American Melania Trump took the role in 2017.


Louisa Adams was regarded by contemporaries as the "most traveled woman of her time", and she was the only first lady of the 19th century to travel so widely.


Consistently, Louisa Adams has been ranked in the upper-half of first ladies by historians in these surveys.