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  Know more about John & Abigail Adams
A Distant Love:
Songs of John and Abigail Adams

Watch Video Interviews with Margaret A. Hogan:

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Did you know.......

John Adams defended the British soldiers accused of shooting Americans during the “Boston Massacre� All but two of the eight soldiers were successfully acquitted.

John and Abigail Adams exchanged approximately 1160 letters to one another over a 40-year period.

At the time, letters were delivered by hand, by trusted friends, colleagues and servants. Often, multiple copies were sent abroad via different sailing vessels in case a ship was intercepted and the letters had to be thrown overboard.

John Adams wrote to Abigail that July 2 would hereafter be celebrated in America “as the great anniversary Festival…commemorated with Pomp and Parade, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations…�

Despite their mutual admiration for each other, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson became staunch political enemies. They later reconciled but never saw each other again, only communicating by letter.

Both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died on the same day: July 4, 1826 �the 50 th Anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

John Adams was the primary author of the MA state constitution that still governs today.

Abigail was one of the country’s earliest feminists, asking that in writing the Declaration of Independence, the delegates “remember the ladies�and to “not put such unlimited power into the hands of the husbands. Remember, all men would be tyrants if they could.�

When John Adams went to Amsterdam, he did so as a “private citizen� only later receiving an official commission from the Continental Congress to secure a substantial loan from the Dutch.

Abigail often signed her letters “Portia� not for Shakespeare’s heroine but rather for the wife of Rome’s Brutus.

Although John Quincy Adams became the fourth president of the U.S., his younger brothers, Thomas and Charles, did not fare as well, both dying of alcoholism.

Abigail Adams Smith (daughter of John and Abigail) died from breast cancer.

The direct descendants of John and Abigail Adams still gather annually at the Adams National Historical Park in Quincy, MA.

Digital copies of the Adams letters (and many others) can be seen here.

  Margaret A. Hogan

Margaret A. Hogan is the former managing editor of the Adams Papers editorial project at the Massachusetts Historical Society. She was the lead editor for volumes 7�1 of the Adams Family Correspondence series, and with her colleague C. James Taylor, coedited My Dearest Friend: Letters of Abigail and John Adams (Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2007). Before that she held editorial positions with the Ratification of the Constitution documentary editing project, Oxford University Press, and the Greenwood Publishing Group. She trained in history at Swarthmore College and the University of Wisconsin–Madison, specializing in American religious and women’s history. Originally from Connecticut and following a lengthy detour in Wisconsin, she now resides in the Boston suburb of Brookline, Massachusetts, where she works as an independent editorial consultant.


Joining us on Saturday for a pre-matinee lecture will be Margaret A. Hogan, former editor of the Adams Papers at the Massachusetts Historical Society and co-editor of My Dearest Friend.  Ms. Hogan's presentation will note:

Always articulate and candid, John and Abigail used letters to cement their relationship, debate literature and ideas, report news, raise their children, maintain their household, and engage in the political debates of their day. While famous for their partnership, the best-documented periods of the Adamses�lives are, ironically, when the two were separated. Their misfortune is our good fortune, allowing us to trace the development of their relationship and their important role in the American Revolution and the formation of a new nation.


For more information on the Adams family and their letters, visit the Massachusetts Historical Society - Adams Family Papers

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