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John Adams’ Heartfelt Letter Fetches $40,000 At Auction

Founding Father's intimate advice to teenager stirs emotions and insights into his personal life.

The auction house Raab Collection has sold a heartfelt and historically significant letter written and signed by Founding Father and second U.S. president John Adams. 

The contents of the letter had been unknown—until now.

Letter signed by John Adams, former President of the United States, 1826. From the New York Public Library. (SMITH COLLECTION/GADO/GETTY IMAGES)

The intimate document, penned by the then-elderly former president on December 14, 1824, fetched an impressive $40,000 price tag. It had been kept in a private family archive for nearly 200 years.

The letter, addressed to a teenager, contained marriage advice. Here’s what Adams wrote to his 19-year-old neighbor, Ellen Maria Brackett, on the eve of her marriage to Thomas Robinson: “I rejoice at your prospect of an intimate connection with the family of my excellent friend Judge Peters, and his excellent lady Miss Robinson, both of whom I shall remember with affectionate respect as long as I live.”

He added: “With my most sincere wishes that you may be attended with every prosperity through life, I subscribe myself your sincere friend.”

At the time of writing the wedding wish, the president was 89 and spending his final days at Peacefield, his farmhouse estate in Quincy, Massachusetts.

The letter mentions a “Miss Robinson,” presumably the sister of the prospective groom.

According to the letter, Brackett asked her famous neighbor for a testament to include in her keepsake.

The autographed letter was included among a collection of over 50 mementos within a leather-bound “friendship album.”

John Adams, 2nd President of the United States of America, (1901). John Adams (1735-1826) was an early advocate of American independence from Great Britain. He was the first vice president (1789-1797) and second president (1797-1801) of the United States. Artist Unknown. (HISTORICA GRAPHICA COLLECTION/GERITAGE IMAGES/GETTY IMAGES) 

“We have never seen an earlier letter from a president in a document like this. “It’s incredible to imagine an elderly John Adams sitting there sharing his thoughts with this young woman. It’s touching to see the personal connection,” auctioneer Nathan Raab of Raab Collection told Fox Business. 

Adams’ letters have long been regarded as essential primary sources for understanding the founding of the U.S., captivating scholars for nearly 250 years of dedicated research. 

Despite being recognized as an intellectual and assertive figure in the revolutionary era, Adams revealed a romantic side that permeated his life, particularly evident in the affectionate letters he penned to his beloved wife, the outlet reported. 

“By the same token that the bearer hereof sat up with you last night,” Adams once wrote of himself to his wife Abigail while courting her in 1762. “I hereby order you to give him as many kisses, and as many hours of your company after nine o’clock, as he pleases to demand, and charge them to my account.”

Produced in association with Benzinga

Edited by Alberto Arellano and Joseph Donald Gunderson

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