Lost Photos of History – John Adams & John Quincy Adams at Peacefield

John Adams and John Quincy Adams

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John Adams & John Quincy Adams at Peacefield

High Expectations

Upon our 2nd visit to the Adams’ Peacefield home in Quincy MA, we had the incredible privilege of not only seeing John Quincy Adams, but also his father, former 2nd President, John Adams. As with our other time travel adventures, I had to get a photo of the “Colossus of Independence” and “Old Man Eloquent.”

The year is 1825, and John Quincy Adams is president.

John Adams and John Quincy Adams at Peacefield
Lost photograph of John Adams and John Quincy Adams at Peacefield, based on J. I Browere life masks. JQA period dress body: Vincent Puliafico.

John was strict with John Quincy’s upbringing and now quite proud of John Quincy’s success. John said to John Quincy, “Unless you’re president, you’re a failure.” 1  He also told him, “You come into life with advantages which will disgrace you if your success is mediocre. And if you do not rise to the head not only of your own profession, but of your country, it will be owing to your own laziness, slovenliness and obstinacy.” 2
John Quincy did not let his father down. Standing beside him in this photo as president, John Quincy said, “The first and deepest of all my wishes is to give satisfaction to my parents.” Sadly, John Adams’ two other sons didn’t live up to his expectations, “both became drunks and failed as lawyers.” 3

John Adams and John Quincy Adams at Peacefield
Close up photograph of John Adams and John Quincy Adams at Peacefield based on J. I Browere life masks. JQA period dress body: Vincent Puliafico.

Daily Routine

While visiting, we learned of John Adams’ daily routine. He would awake as early as 5 a.m. and eat breakfast by 8 a.m. After breakfast, Adams enjoyed walking for exercise.

The habit rubbed off on John Quincy. “Throughout his life, the younger Adams would exercise in the morning by strolling about Washington D.C., or by skinny-dipping in the Potomac.” 4 John said, “”Move or die is the language of our Maker in the constitution of our bodies.” “During his retirement, Adams would go on long walks with his friend, clock maker Richard Cranch.” 5

He enjoyed drinking a morning “gill” of hard cider, a habit from his days at Harvard. He said, I will “never forget how refreshing and salubrious” I found the beverage in college. The Adams family ate dinner around 3 p.m. and when Abigail was living she made sure that John had his “favorite New England cheese, bacon, white potatoes, and cider ” 6

John would unwind from his work by reading and studying in his personal library of 3,500 books. When John Quincy was younger, he and John would study together until 9 p.m, and “once their studies concluded, the rest of the family was “often called upon to relieve their brains by a game of whist.” 7 John then would retire for the evening around 10 p.m.

Lost Daguerreotype of John Adams and John Quincy Adams
Sepia Toned photograph of John Adams and John Quincy Adams at Peacefield based on J. I Browere life masks. JQA period dress body: Vincent Puliafico.

Anachronism Corrections

The pictures above show John Quincy incorrectly for the time period. Both life masks of John and John Quincy were made in 1825. During this time, John Quincy’s hair was brown and he did not have mutton chops. It is my preference to see him with mutton chops, but for the purists, the image below is  corrected for the time period.

John Adams and John Quincy Adams
Close up photograph of John Adams and John Quincy Adams at Peacefield based on J. I Browere life masks. John Quincy Adam’s appearance corrected for the time period. JQA period dress body: Vincent Puliafico.

Life Mask Reconstructions

The above images of the Adams are Photoshop compositions using the faces taken from  life masks. The life masks were cast from a plaster molds of the head and upper torso in 1825 by J. I. Browere.

John Adams and John Quincy Adams LIfe Masks
Original Life Mask Image Sources: John Adams (1735-1826), 1940, J.H. Browere & Roman Bronze Works, bronze, H: 29 x W: 21.5 x D: 10.5 in., Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown, New York, Gift of Stephen C. Clark. N0201.1961. Photograph by Richard Walker. John Quincy Adams (1767-1848), 1940, J.H. Browere & Roman Bronze Works, bronze, H: 29 x W: 23 x D: 11.5 in., Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown, New York, Gift of Stephen C. Clark. N0202.1961. Photograph by Richard Walker

Special thanks to Vincent Puliafico for image usage.

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Sources & References:

1,2,3 New England Historical Society. “John Adams Was A Tiger Dad. So Was John Quincy.” https://www.newenglandhistoricalsociety.com/john-adams-tiger-dad-john-quincy/
4,5,6,7 Áine Cain. “A look at the daily routine of John Adams, who woke before dawn, walked 5 miles at a time, and drank hard cider at breakfast.” Business Insider, July 4, 2018 https://www.businessinsider.com/john-adams-daily-routine-2017-7

Original Life Mask Image Sources: John Adams (1735-1826), 1940, J.H. Browere & Roman Bronze Works, bronze, H: 29 x W: 21.5 x D: 10.5 in., Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown, New York, Gift of Stephen C. Clark. N0201.1961. Photograph by Richard Walker. John Quincy Adams (1767-1848), 1940, J.H. Browere & Roman Bronze Works, bronze, H: 29 x W: 23 x D: 11.5 in., Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown, New York, Gift of Stephen C. Clark. N0202.1961. Photograph by Richard Walker

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