By Katherine Amelia Siobhan Sibley
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Although she was the wife of a founder, first lady of the United States, and mother of another presi dent, her greatest legacy has always been her writings. As one of the premier—arguably 26 margaret a. hogan the best—American letter writers of the eighteenth century, she left a tremendous trove of correspondence, which showed her to be a thoughtful and incisive observer of the world around her. The letters also reveal many of her private thoughts and activities. John recognized his wife’s facility as a letter writer, commenting to François Adrian Van der Kemp in 1809: It is a little remarkable that you never heard the Litterary Character of my Consort.
When the time came to leave France, Abigail expressed sadness at leaving. England felt perhaps more familiar but carried great challenges, too, as Abigail would now be the wife of a resident minis ter, the first such appointee by the United States since the Revolution. She endured the tedious rituals of court etiquette, includ ing standing up for four hours while she waited to be presented to the royal family and other uncomfortable situations caused by lingering animosity toward all things American.
2005. His Excellency: George Washington. New York: Vintage Books. , ed. 1994. Worthy Partner: The Papers of Martha Washington. Westport, CT: Greenwood. Farr, J. E. 2012. ” In A Companion to George Washington, edited by E. G. Lengel, 15–31. Oxford: Wiley Blakwell. Gould, L. L. 1996. American First Ladies: Their Lives and Their Legacy. New York: Garland. Randall, W. S. 1997. George Washington: A Life. New York: Henry Holt. Watson, Robert, P. 2002. ” In American First Ladies, edited by R. P. Watson, 9–18.
A companion to first ladies by Katherine Amelia Siobhan Sibley