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The Court of Abigail Adams

The Court of Abigail Adams D AVID S . S HIELDS AND FREDRIKA J. TEUTE Bluestocking—middle-aged Protestant townswoman prone to organizing benevolent networks, promoting education, and monitoring the improvement of manners. Known for a taste in reading, she cultivates sense rather than scandal in conversation, has the mastery of at least one polite art (singing, playing an instrument, drawing, amateur theatricals, dancing, or recitation), and dresses stylishly, but not extravagantly. She is the capable mistress of her townhouse, a complaı ´sant hostess in her drawing room, and a sociable companion in public. Whiggish in politics, she belongs to the town gentry, but manifests a concern for women of all ranks and conditions. On May 6, 1796, Abigail Adams arrived in Philadelphia to assume the duties of first lady. John Adams had been president since March 4 and had taken up residence in the house vacated by the Washingtons, a place in disarray, furnished with remnant and broken chairs, devoid of dishes, and too dirty to welcome visitors. Expert at household manage- ment, having years of experience during her husband’s long overseas absences, Abigail took two days to put the place in order, then began the inaugural leve ´es signaling her assumption of the role http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of the Early Republic University of Pennsylvania Press

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Publisher
University of Pennsylvania Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 Society for Historians of the Early American Republic.
ISSN
1553-0620

Abstract

D AVID S . S HIELDS AND FREDRIKA J. TEUTE Bluestocking—middle-aged Protestant townswoman prone to organizing benevolent networks, promoting education, and monitoring the improvement of manners. Known for a taste in reading, she cultivates sense rather than scandal in conversation, has the mastery of at least one polite art (singing, playing an instrument, drawing, amateur theatricals, dancing, or recitation), and dresses stylishly, but not extravagantly. She is the capable mistress of her townhouse, a complaı ´sant hostess in her drawing room, and a sociable companion in public. Whiggish in politics, she belongs to the town gentry, but manifests a concern for women of all ranks and conditions. On May 6, 1796, Abigail Adams arrived in Philadelphia to assume the duties of first lady. John Adams had been president since March 4 and had taken up residence in the house vacated by the Washingtons, a place in disarray, furnished with remnant and broken chairs, devoid of dishes, and too dirty to welcome visitors. Expert at household manage- ment, having years of experience during her husband’s long overseas absences, Abigail took two days to put the place in order, then began the inaugural leve ´es signaling her assumption of the role

Journal

Journal of the Early RepublicUniversity of Pennsylvania Press

Published: Apr 29, 2015

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