Abigail Fillmore and the White House Library

Presidential History Blog

Abigail Fillmore is one of those early First Ladies who has faded into oblivion. She needs to be re-explored.

Miss Powers, Teacher

Abigail Powers (1798-1852) was only two when her father died. She later claimed to have inherited two important things from the father she never knew: his love of reading, and his vast (for upstate New York in 1800) library.

AbigailFillmore One of the rare etchings of Abigail Powers Fillmore, wife of the 13th President.

By the time she was sixteen, she was the local “school marm,” credited as being the first First Lady to work outside the home.

One of the few stories known about Abigail Fillmore, was that she taught Millard Fillmore, (1800-1874) a husky farm boy her own age who wanted to learn. The usual image is of a young woman teaching a big fellow his A-B-C’s.

Yes, but not quite. Millard Fillmore knew his letters and…

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