John Quincy Adams, MLIS

Quincy took over the State Department in 1818. Quoting from page 200 of Unger’s book:

“State Department papers had been in disarray since the War of 1812, so he ordered clerks to create an index of diplomatic correspondence and cross-reference every topic in every dispatch and letter to and from overseas consulates and ministries, foreign ministers, and foreign consuls.  He then organized and expanded the State Department Library(!) which became one of the world’s largest collections of references and other works relating to foreign affairs.”

I really love how organized and librarian like some of these early Presidents were. They really set the foundation for future office holders.


Half-Blood Princess?

Quincy was called from France to London to present the King the documents from the Jay Treaty. He often visited Joshua Johnson, the American Consul, and this is where he got reacquainted with the woman who would be his wife. Louisa Catherine Johnson was the English born daughter of the American diplomat in London. He first met her when he was 14 and she was barely more than an infant.

He hinted at the relationship when writing to his mother. Abigail was worried that he would marry an English girl and his prospects in American government would be destroyed. “I would hope for the love I bear my country, that the siren is at least half-blood.” I wonder if there were muggles on either side.

John Quincy Adams – Boy Diplomat

His first act of diplomacy was at age 13. While his dad was in Amsterdam looking for financial support for the Revolutionary War, he was enrolled in the University of Leyden. He introduced his professor Jean Luzac to his father. Luzac was also a lawyer and editor of an influential newspaper. After meeting John Adams, Luzac became “Holland’s most outspoken advocate of Dutch financial aid to the Americans…”

French was the language of diplomats in the 18th century. Yet, Francis Dana was appointed ambassador to Russia without knowing any French. Impressed with Quincy’s “erudition, social maturity and language skills,” Dana hired him to serve as secretary and interpreter when he was 14. On the morning of July 7, 1781, he left for Russia in “what would be a lifelong adventure of service to his country.”

Madison’s Inauguration

March 4, 1809, was a beautiful spring day for Madison’s inauguration. His inaugural address was less than ten minutes and he did not mention any new ideas that he may have for his Presidency. “One of the ladies in the gallery recorded that he ‘was extremely pale and trembled excessively when he first began to speak, but he soon gained confidence and spoke audibly.'”

After the formalities, the Madison’s held an open house at their house and the new President quickly became uncomfortable with the crowds.  After the crowds left, there was time before the grand inaugural ball, so he rested while Dolley changed outfits and jewelry. By mid evening, Madison was, “spiritless and exhausted.” He told one guest that he would rather be home in bed, but soldiered on having a discussion about well digging.

Thomas Jefferson was the happiest guy at the event because he was no longer President.

Attempting to get a look at Dolley, the crowd stood on benches. The room was so warm that the upper window panes were broken in order to let in fresh air. The Madison’s left immediately after dinner, but the guests danced until midnight. John Quincy Adams, who had been to many official functions in the US and abroad, commented on the evening, “The crowd was excessive, the head oppressive, and the entertainment bad.”

Quite a way for the Father of the Constitution to begin is Presidency.

Presidents who Tweet

Mashable has a slide show of 25 dead Presidents to follow on Twitter.  I’ve looked at each account and some of them are really funny. For example, John Quincy Adams is a diehard Harry Potter fan.  A grade school student tweeted that she finished her report on Millard Fillmore and he replied to her that he would be happy to check it for accuracy. Herbert Hoover wonders where Nate Silver was when he needed him.

Some of them are not funny at all and some of them do not tweet very often. But, if you are on Twitter, they are definitely worth checking out.



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