Sunday, September 28, 2014

Abigail Adams--Much More Than Fenway (Part II)

Yesterday, I started recounting the excursion John and I made to Peacefield, the home of John and Abigail Adams. If John's birthday tour of Fenway deserved a comparison to a grand slam, my birthday tour of Peacefield can justifiably compare to a Red Sox World Series victory. Caroline, the park ranger who guided us around the property, happened to be the director of that house, yet she treated us as royalty!

I ended yesterday's post with this photo of John and me admiring Gilbert Stuart's portrait of Abigail during her time in the White House:
Actually, this painting is a second copy. Even so, seeing it thrilled me so much that I consider it my favorite  photo from the entire experience.  Should I have pretended that my wheelchair broke down so I could spend more time gazing at it? Okay, the  Lord hates every kind of falsehood, so I guess not. (Sigh!)

Other portraits of Adams family members hang about the room, so that the collection includes one First Lady (Abigail), two Presidents (John and John Quincy) and an ambassador during the Civil War (Charles Francis). This picture of "Nabby" (John and Abigail's daughter, also named Abigail) also resides in the Long Room:
Caroline then showed us the portrait over the mantlepiece, explaining that mantlepiece paintings hold the place of highest honor. Rather than a portrait of a family member, as one might expect, a portrait of  Dr. Joseph Warren (the dear friend of John and Abigail's who died fighting the Battle of Bunker Hill) occupies the esteemed spot.
From the Long Room, Caroline took us through the garden to see the rosebush that Abigail brought back from England in 1788. Though currently not in bloom, the bush (actually two bushes) yields white and red roses to remind Abigail of the houses of York and Lancaster in the Wars of the Roses.
We concluded the tour in the library that Charles Francis built to house the 12,000 books belonging to John and Abigail. The desk you see is the desk John used as a young lawyer preparing his cases (including, I presume, his successful defense of the King's soldiers in the Boston Massacre) and also as a statesman writing the Constitution of Massachusetts (which served as a model for the U.S. Constitution).
I opened yesterday's  blog post by  talking about the biographical novel about Abigail Adams that my mom let me read 30-some years ago. How fitting, then, to end the tour with books! John's birthday tour of Fenway offered tremendous fun, but my birthday tour of Peacefield reminded me of two wonderful women who have made profound impacts on my life.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for that tour DebbieLynne, I enjoyed it very much indeed! The library!!! We have many books in boxes for lack of shelf space...and on the shelves we have about 700, among them books by CH Spurgeon's sermons, John Owen, and of course John Calvin's commentary of the Bible. I showed my husband that picture of the library stating my hopes of one day having one like that, sigh. But I'll settle for walking on streets paved with gold in the New Jerusalem. :)

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