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A Traveled First Lady: Writings of Louisa Catherine Adams Hardcover – March 4, 2014
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Here's history at its best! Louisa Catherine Adams's shrewd eyewitness accounts document pivotal moments in the country's formative years. Often laugh-out-loud funny, the writings of this intelligent, insightful woman also provide fascinating context for the career of John Quincy and his contemporaries. (Cokie Roberts, author of Founding Mothers and Ladies of Liberty)
This graceful collection of the personal papers of Louisa Catherine Adams, the only first lady to have been foreign-born, is a treasure. Broad in scope but intimate in detail, Louisa’s account of her tour through the courts of Europe and the byways of accomplishment and loss that distinguished the Adams family shines and startles with wit and a woman’s heart wanting to freely ‘breathe its sorrows.’ Henry Adams would write he knew ‘nothing’ of his grandmother’s ‘interior life.’ Fortunate readers will know much more from her bracing words that bring early America to vivid life. (Natalie Dykstra, author of Clover Adams: A Gilded and Heartbreaking Life)
Highly readable…The book also features a delightful foreword by Laura Bush… ‘Narrative of a Journey from Russia to France,’ is the most hair-raising section in the entire collection…It is a story of unimaginable discomfort, absent-minded servants, questionable characters threatening in desolate places, impudent officials, weary soldiers, and filthy lodgings. Above all, it is the tale of a fragile, rugged, determined woman pulling off an adventure as daunting as those of the ragged soldiers she passed. (Janet Tassel American Spectator 2014-04-01)
Allow[s] Louisa to emerge as a subject herself. In the process, she also becomes newly convincing as a source, especially in connection with her husband's complicated, grinding ambition, a quality she discerned beneath his cloak of rectitude. (Thomas Mallon New Yorker 2014-05-05)
A fine new sampling of Louisa’s writings…Louisa Adams was highly intelligent, well educated, and well read. She was a talented writer, as her diary and letters--most notably the correspondence she maintained with her father-in-law, after the death of his wife Abigail--reveal. (Susan Dunn New York Review of Books 2014-06-05)
About the Author
Margaret A. Hogan is an independent scholar and former editor of the Adams Papers at the Massachusetts Historical Society.
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The editors have done a wonderful job of editing and annotating Louisa Catherine Adams' writings. Louisa was physically frail, enduring many miscarriages in her lifetime and several depressions. Yet, she was a strong, intelligent woman; a great political and diplomatic partner for John Quincy Adams; and respected and admired spouse in Washington. Sadly, despite her many accomplishments and the admiration she received, Louisa had very poor self-esteem. This is very clear in the title of her autobiography, "Adventures of A Nobody". Excerpts of her autobiography are included in this volume along with many of her letters to JQA, her sons, friends and relations.
This book reveals the amazing woman known as the "other Mrs. Adams" in a way that only her own words can. Louisa's writing provides a glimpse into 19th Century American diplomacy and politics, the Adams family dynasty and the difficult life and sacrifices of a family committed to public service and the American nation. Great reading!