Abigail Adams Historical Society

Abigail Adams Historical Society The Society was founded in 1947 to save the Abigail Adams Birthplace and Homestead located in Weymouth, Massachusetts. Abigail Adams, the 2nd First Lady, wife of President John Adams, was a prolific letter writer.

Abigail Adams Historical Society is dedicated to the preservation, interpretation and stewardship of Abigail Adams Birthplace, a national historic site, in Weymouth, Massachusetts. For more information, visiting hours, programming, and details on donation and volunteering, please visit our website at www.abigailadamsbirthplace.com

Abigail Adams Historical Society is dedicated to the preservation, interpretation and stewardship of Abigail Adams Birthplace, a national historic site, in Weymouth, Massachusetts. For more information, visiting hours, programming, and details on donation and volunteering, please visit our website at www.abigailadamsbirthplace.com

Mission: Abigail Adams Historical Society (AAHS) is dedicated to commemorating and educating a worldwide audience about the extraordinary life and times of Abigail Smith Adams, a national treasure, and her legacy of service to country; and to preserving and interpreting her birthplace, the place where her character and ideals were formed, as a resource and inspiration for all. AAHS is the steward for the preservation of Abigail Adams' birthplace and first home, from1744 to her marriage to John Adams in 1764. The Society offers tours of the house and presents programs on this remarkable American, her family, and the era in which she lived.

Temporarily closed


“Abigail was keenly aware of tea’s political divisiveness following the arrival of the three ships bearing the East India Company’s 342 chests of Chinese teas in Boston Harbor.

On December 5, 1773, Abigail wrote to Mercy Otis:

‘The Tea that bainfull weed is arrived. Great and I hope Effectual opposition has been made to the landing of it.’”Quote from our Friends at The Boston Tea Party Ship

Massachusetts Historical Society

Massachusetts Historical Society

On 29 November 1798, Abigail Adams writes to John Adams: "This is our Thanksgiving day. when I look Back upon the year past, I perceive many, very many causes for thanksgiving, both of a publick and Private nature. I hope my Heart is not ungratefull, tho sad; it is usually a day of festivity when the social Family circle meet together tho seperated the rest of the year. No Husband dignifies my Board, no Children add gladness to it, no Smiling Grandchildren Eyes to sparkle for the plumb pudding, or feast upon the mincd Pye. Solitary & alone I behold the day after a sleepless night, with-out a joyous feeling. am I ungratefull? I hope not." Wishing everyone a safe and happy Thanksgiving.

A nice shout out from our friends at the National Trust for Historic Preservation!
National Trust for Historic Preservation

A nice shout out from our friends at the National Trust for Historic Preservation!

Born on November 22, 1744, First Lady Abigail Adams lived in her birthplace for the first 20 years of her life. Education was important to her and her father, Reverend Smith, who regularly taught boys who were going to attend Harvard University subjects like law, ministry, and medicine at the home.

Her mother taught Abigail how to read and write, and Abigail would later read from her father’s many books in the study’s library. She and President John Adams left to make a life of their own after exchanging vows at the home in 1764. https://savingplaces.org/stories/abigail-adams-birthplace-american-history-through-a-womans-eyes #TellTheFullStory

Grateful for The Boy Scouts of Troop 19 and their families who assist. Over 40 bags of leaves raked today!

Grateful for The Boy Scouts of Troop 19 and their families who assist. Over 40 bags of leaves raked today!

Our neighbors in the cemetery. Abigail's parents are buried here.

Our neighbors in the cemetery. Abigail's parents are buried here.

Last week the info posts will be out about the carvers in the cemetery. I'll be taking them in for the winter. If you want to take a walk through the cemetery after your thanksgiving feast, look at the different carvers and their styles and also check out the corresponding videos on here... just wear some solid walking shoes and watch the acorns and leaves. And mind the traffic on North St if you cross to the cannons.

First ladies receive recognition in Washington D.C.

First ladies receive recognition in Washington D.C.

Happy “First Lady Friday!” Today, we celebrate the opening of the National Portrait Gallery’s new exhibit, “Every Eye Is Upon Me: First Ladies of the United States,” which features portraits from the White House Collection and other repositories. In honor of the exhibit’s opening, let’s learn more about Harriet Lane, White House hostess during the presidency of James Buchanan and avid art collector.

When bachelor James Buchanan was elected to the presidency, he recruited his young, charming niece, Harriet Lane, to act as first lady and White House hostess. Lane quickly became an American celebrity, featured in newspaper articles and women’s magazines, invited to social and philanthropic events, and proclaimed namesake to “societies, ships of war, [and] neck-ties.”

After leaving the White House, Harriet Lane remained a staple among Washington, D.C. society, and amassed a collection of European art that rivaled the best galleries of the time. Harriet Lane designated in her will that her collection be donated toward the creation of a national gallery of art—at the time, no such museum existed. Her donation contributed to the foundation of the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s collection, which shares a space with the National Portrait Gallery today.

Harriet Lane is just one of many examples of the American first ladies acting as a philanthropist—another unspoken role filled by the president’s spouse. Many first ladies have used their voice and platform to advocate for charities and causes that they personally support.

Get your tickets for the National Portrait Gallery’s new exhibit, “Every Eye Is Upon Me: First Ladies of the United States,” to learn more about Harriet Lane and the lives and legacies of America’s first ladies.


For information on visiting tips, please visit: https://npg.si.edu/visiting-tips-faqs

We have been closed since March as well. Tours are a source of revenue for the Society and provide the income for our in...
Royall House & Slave Quarters

We have been closed since March as well. Tours are a source of revenue for the Society and provide the income for our insurance and operating costs. there are no paid or stipend workers at The Birthplace. Everyone is a volunteer.

Our museum's usual tour season extends from late May through Halloween, so we'd be closed now in any case. But we never opened this year at all, because we just couldn't guarantee visitor and guide safety in some of our buildings' smaller spaces. Historic New England's Peter Gittleman, co-president of our board, explains the challenges in the linked article.

"While a small number of these sites have reopened, the vast majority are still shut tight – some with plans to remain closed until next spring. Historic homes make up around 55 percent of New England museums, and many of the features that make these homes unique – original artifacts and older spaces – also make it nearly impossible to make them COVID-compliant.

"Historic New England, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving historic heritage sites, owns 37 historic properties across New England, and only six have reopened their buildings, including the Sleeper-McCann House in Gloucester, Gropius House in Lincoln, and the Eustis Estate in Milton.

"Peter Gittleman, team leader for visitor experience at Historic New England, said there is visitor interest – tours are regularly selling out in advance. But opening more properties or expanding the currently reduced hours was too complicated given the realities of COVID."

Adams National Historical Park

Adams National Historical Park

John Adams was born #onthisdate in 1735. Happy 285th Birthday!

Image: John Adams by Jane Stuart (a copy of the original by her father, Gilbert Stuart). John Adams is bald on top with grey hair around the sides. He is wearing a dark suit with a white shirt and sitting on a red sofa.

Sonnet Bakery

Sonnet Bakery

After a lot of research into this project, it is such a thrill to see my cakes displayed in the Abigail Adams house! Thanks to the Abigail Adams Historical Society for giving me the honor of recreating these 18th century desserts.

Adams National Historical Park

Adams National Historical Park

You may notice some different stories than you’re used to on our page next week. From October 5 to October 9 the rangers from Women’s Rights National Historical Park will be taking over our Facebook feed! We will be returning the favor for them. Be sure to follow @womensrightsnps to see the connection between the two parks and get the full, exciting story. You won’t want to miss this fascinating glimpse into the anti-slavery and women’s rights movements!


Image: Inside the Women's Rights National Historical Park Visitor Center. A collection of statues representing individuals who participated in the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848.

#WomensHistory #FindYourPark #EncuentraTuParque #FindYourVirtualPark #National Park Service #ParkSwap #NationalParkSocialMediaSwap #SocialMediaSwap #NPS19th

Royall House & Slave Quarters

Royall House & Slave Quarters

Abigail Adams wrote to her husband John in 1774 about the hypocrisy of Patriots agitating for freedom from British rule, while slavery was legal in all 13 American colonies:

“It always appeared a most iniquitous scheme to me—fight ourselves for what we are daily robbing and plundering from those who have as good a right to freedom as we have. You know my mind upon this subject.”

In 1733 Matthew Ellis—a resident of our museum's home community of Medford, Massachusetts, who was a faithful member of the Church of England—protested paying taxes to support the local Congregational minister. Ellis was jailed for his failure to pay the tax, sued the local constable, and eventually prevailed. According to the Historical Magazine of the Protestant Episcopal Church, "For practical purposes, freedom of worship had come to Massachusetts."

And yet just 2 years earlier, in October 1731, the New England Weekly Journal carried this ad: "Stray'd away from Mr. Matthew Ellis, on the 26th of Sept. last, Two new Negro Men, one about 40, the other about 30 years of Age.... Neither of them can speak English. Whoever shall take up the abovesaid Negro's, and them bring or convey to the abovesaid Ellis at Medford ... shall have Reasonable Satisfaction, & necessary Charges paid."

Another iniquitous scheme.

- - -

Thanks for alerting us to historic Medford-related ads go to The Slavery Adverts 250 Project, conducted by Carl Robert Keyes, associate professor of history at Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts: adverts250project.org

Royall House & Slave Quarters
Royall House & Slave Quarters

Royall House & Slave Quarters

"It was strange to realize that providing a holistic account of what slavery was, and the horror it wrought, might be understood as indoctrination—especially if the only stories one has been told about America have been cloaked in the one-dimensional mythology of exceptionalism.

"... the truth is that our country is not made worse by young people reckoning fully with the legacy of slavery. Such reckoning better prepares them to make sense of how our country has come to be, and how to build systems and institutions predicated on justice rather than oppression. Nothing is more patriotic than that."

Adams National Historical Park

Adams National Historical Park

"I am very impatient to receive a letter from you. You indulged me so much in that Way in your last absence, that I now think I have a right to hear as often from you as you have leisure and opportunity to write. I hear that [Samuel Adams] wrote to his Son and [Thomas Cushing] to his Lady, but perhaps you did not know of the opportunity." - Abigail to John Adams, 2 September 1774 #onthisdate

Does your significant other or child not respond to your letters (or, in 2020, texts) as frequently as you'd wish? Abigail Adams understood.

Image: Abigail Adams by Benjamin Blythe. Abigail is around 22 years old at the time this portrait was painted. She is facing to the right. She has dark hair which is tied behind her neck. She is wearing a v neck dress with a pearl necklace choker. The dress is blue and pink.

Abigail would have approved!
The Vote | American Experience | PBS

Abigail would have approved!

One hundred years after the passage of the 19th Amendment, The Vote tells the dramatic culmination story of the hard-fought campaign waged by American women for the right to vote, a transformative cultural and political movement that resulted in the largest expansion of voting rights in U.S. history...

This is the home where Abigail Smith Adams and John Adams moved after they were married.

This is the home where Abigail Smith Adams and John Adams moved after they were married.

"It is really mortifying Sir, when a woman possessd of a common share of understanding considers the difference of Education between the male and female Sex, even in those families where Education is attended too.... Nay why should your sex wish for such a disparity in those whom they one day intend for companions and associates. Pardon me Sir if I cannot help sometimes suspecting that this Neglect arises in some measure from an ungenerous jealosy of rivals near the Throne..." - Abigail Adams to John Thaxter, 15 February 1778

Image: The back view of the John Quincy Adams Birthplace. It is a light grey saltbox style home with a brick chimney in the middle of the roof and a yellow door.



Today is the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment. One of the pioneers of the women's suffrage movement was Lucy Stone of West Brookfield. Her letters are available through the Digital Commonwealth and a bust of her is on display at the Boston Public Library. http://ow.ly/1EPp50B2tXZ

Join our friends outdoors in Hingham until we are ready to reopen.

Join our friends outdoors in Hingham until we are ready to reopen.

Explore historic #Hingham! Downtown walking tours every Thursday, Friday & Saturday $15 | $10 Members | Free for Children under 12 | One hour | One mile | Buy tickets in link 👆

Hingham Historical Society

Good things are happening with our friends at Hingham Historical Society with the purchase of this historic home.

Thank you, Hingham. With today’s Town Meeting vote for Community Preservation Funds for the Benjamin Lincoln House, you support our efforts to make this National Historic Landmark a public site- to inform and inspire for another 350 years. Thank you https://youtu.be/OdE4QgNeheY



Day 3: Healthcare workers on the front lines

In recognition of all of the individuals working on the front lines in healthcare and public health during the coronavirus pandemic, today’s posts focus in on the physicians who inoculated John and Abigail Adams and their four children against the ever-present danger of smallpox.

Part 2: Abigail Adams and Public Health during wartime.

Abigail and her children were inoculated for smallpox in July, 1776 while John Adams was serving in Philadelphia. The end of the Siege of Boston in March of that year had led to a new outbreak of smallpox as the disease was carried out of the liberated town into the surrounding countryside. In response, members of Boston’s medical community including Dr. Thomas Bulfinch set up inoculation hospitals to combat the spread of the dreaded disease. Abigail’s letters to her cousin John Thaxter and to John Adams reveal the urgency and the cost she and others faced as she tried to keep her family safe.

“As you have always expressd a desire to have the small pox with my family I write to let you know that we go next thursday. If you chuse to enter as part of my family at 18 Shillings per week, paying your doctor for innoculation which I hear is a Guiney you may send me word immediately… The time allowed is short, so that we must go this week. Dr. Bulfinch is our Physician, says no occasion of any previous preparation.”

Letter from Abigail Adams to John Thaxter, 7 July 1776. Adams Family Correspondence, vol. 2 [electronic edition]. Adams Papers Digital Edition, Massachusetts Historical Society. https://www.masshist.org/publications/adams-papers/index.php/view/ADMS-04-02-02-0020.

“I now date from Boston where I yesterday arrived and was with all 4 of our Little ones innoculated for the small pox…Dr. Bulfinch is our Physician. Such a Spirit of innoculation never before took place; the Town and every House in it, are as full as they can hold. I believe there are not less than 30 persons from Braintree... I knew your mind so perfectly upon the subject that I thought nothing, but our recovery would give you eaquel pleasure, and as to safety there was none.”

Letter from Abigail Adams to John Adams, 13 July 1776. Adams Family Correspondence, vol. 2 [electronic edition]. Adams Papers Digital Edition, Massachusetts Historical Society. http://www.masshist.org/publications/adams-papers/index.php/view/ADMS-04-02-02-0026

Portrait of Abigail Adams by Benjamin Blythe. Portrait of Dr. Thomas Bulfinch by Joseph Blackburn.

From our friends in Quincy.

From our friends in Quincy.

This week, in honor of Patriots’ Day 2020, and as our community, state, country and world grapple with the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, we will be sharing daily posts featuring select letters, words and experiences of John and Abigail Adams. The contents of these posts come directly from digitized transcriptions of documents from the Adams Family Papers collections at the Massachusetts Historical Society. This unique historical collection includes the Biography and Autobiography of John Adams and over 1,100 of John and Abigail’s letters written over a span of 36 years.
Day 1: In recognition of the loss of life and in celebration of the lives of those who have passed, this series begins with an excerpt from John Adams’ Autobiography:
“On the 25 of May in this Year 1761, my venerable Father died in his 71st Year, beloved, esteemed and revered by all who knew him. Nothing that I can say or do,will can sufficiently express my Gratitude for his parental Kindness to me, or the great exalted Opinion I have of his Wisdom and Virtue. It was a melancholly House. My Father and Mother were seized at the same time with the violent Fever, a kind of Influenza, or an Epidemick was which carried off Seventeen Aged People in our Neighbourhood. My Mother remained ill in bed at my Fathers Funeral, but being younger than my Father and possessed of a stronger constitution, she happily recovered and lived to my inexpressible Comfort, till the Year 1797, when she died at almost ninety Years of Age. . .”

John Adams autobiography, part 1, "John Adams," through 1776, sheet 8 of 53 [electronic edition]. Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive. Massachusetts Historical Society. http://www.masshist.org/digitaladams/


180 Norton St
Weymouth, MA

General information

The Birthplace of Abigail Smith Adams was built in 1685 for the Reverend Samuel Torrey, minister of The First Church in Weymouth. The original location was at the corner of North and East Streets, three hundred feet to the southeast of its present location. In 1738, the “Torrey Mansion” as it was known, was bought by Reverend William Smith, minister of The First Church, where he and his wife later lived all of their married life. Abigail Smith was born in the house on November 11, 1744 the second of four children born, where she resided the first 20 years of her life until she married John Adams in 1764. Abigail was a frequent visitor to the house after her marriage. In 1826 The First Church bought the birthplace for its first owned parsonage, but in 1838 found that it was so dilapidated that its members voted to build a new home on the same site. With the exception of the 1685 section, the house was torn down; some of the lumber was salvaged and used in new parsonage. The original gambrel-roofed house was sold to a local farmer, Nathaniel Ford, who towed it by oxen to his farm on Bridge Street, and used it to house farm workers. In 1947 the land and the building was acquired by the federal government to build federal housing. All of the farm’s buildings were marked for demolition. A few Weymouth residents, aware of the historic value of the birthplace, began strenuous efforts to save it. A citizen’s group was incorporated (AAHS) and the building was moved. On May 1, 1947, the Town of Weymouth released a lot of land at North and Norton Streets for the sum of one dollar. In October 1947 the old house, sawed in half, was moved to its new site on a new foundation, skillfully joined so that no trace appears in the house today. The Birthplace was stripped to the frame to restore it, as recommended by architectural historian Frank Chouteau Brown. The furnishings and articles of daily living seen in the house date to the period of Abigail’s residence and serve to illustrate what life was like in the mid-eighteenth century. Today, extensive restoration has confirmed the 17th century age and has preserved the unique structure for the future.


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Are we planning a celebration of her life in 2020? I will be there.
Historic New England is providing a StoryWalk and hands-on craft at the BCAC (Braintree Community Art Center) for families of all surrounding towns, on Tuesday August 21st and 28th from 10am-12pm. The 21st will be on gardening and farming the 28th will be on education and getting ready for back to school. Come join us for both! Families are encouraged to bring a picnic lunch to enjoy after the program. Rain or shine. Hope to see you there.
Researching Capt. James Adams U.E., born in 1765 . Trying to find out if he married Elizabeth Milton or Elizabeth Jenkins. Do you have info on Adams family through the subsequent generations or just in reference to Abigail ?? Thank you.
We live in such an interesting town, so many historical sites....
Unique way to view history!
Elm Street Cemetery Historic Tour Sunday October 22nd 3:00 PM. This year's tour will be different from our previous tours in that the group will all meet at 3:00 PM and be lead through the Cemetery as one group by Cemeterian and amateur historian Dave Crispin. Dave is a life long Braintree resident, one of our Society members and has been in cemeteries for over 46 years having been an employee at Blue Hill Cemetery all that time. He is also a recognized professional cemetery design engineer with the BSC Group of Boston. He is also active in the Massachusetts Cemetery Association and New England Cemetery Association. Join us at 3:00 PM Sunday October 22 to hear the tales of some of those resting at the historical site, one that has been exhumed, the fences and walls, trolly cars, the stones, the symbols, civil war soldiers, old yankees, slaves and perhaps a ghost story or two and maybe some singing! This year there is no reason to miss it... (the foot ball game is a night game). Parking is available behind First Congregational Church (across the street). This year, the town is placing matting (temporary pathways) on the grounds to aid in access around the cemetery. Donations to the Society are welcome! Rain Date October 29th same time. (Wish we had a rain date last year... remember is was rained out?)
Get your tickets and visit Braintree Farmers Market today! Great event, Fasano's Catering, live music by Comfort Street - BHS Farm to Table Supper. Beautiful outdoor venue! Thayer Birthplace open for free tours during the evening. You can also order tickets at Sustainable Braintree
3 Weymouth girls: Abigail, Abby & Abigael
A wonderful tour today for 2 Weymouth girls: Abby M. & Abigael Elizabeth Z.