Mrs. Adams, Dr. Physick, and Her Unmentionable Problem

Presidential History Blog

Louisa Catherine Adams: A Brief Medical History

lcadams Louisa Catherine Adams was the well educated and cultured wife of John Quincy Adams.

Louisa Catherine Adams (1775-1852), London born and Paris educated, was raised to be exactly what she would become: a perfect consort for a man of distinction. John Quincy Adams was the US minister to the Netherlands and the son of the Vice President of the United States when he met and married her. His potential distinction was certain, but marital felicity was not.  JQ was a cold, controlling man.  Emotional stress always takes its toll.

Add to this low-grade strain was Louisa’ fifteen pregnancies. She miscarried chronically, sometimes fairly late in her term. There was a stillborn. Another died before she was a year old. Only three sons would be born and live to maturity. It took its toll as well.

When Louisa was in her late thirties, she…

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