Louisa Catherine Johnson was born in 1775 to an American father and British mother. Born in London, Louisa was the only first lady who was born outside the United States.
When she was three, her family moved to France, where she completed her education. She met John Quincy Adams, a diplomat at the time, in London and they married in 1797.
She first set foot on American soil in 1801. President Jefferson had called John Quincy back to the United States from his diplomatic service. When she arrived, she finally met her father- and mother-in-law, former president John Adams and his wife Abigail.
Louisa Adams played the harp and piano, sang, and composed music. She also wrote both poetry and drama. During the time she was first lady, she authored a play entitled Suspicion, or Persecuted Innocence, which stressed the strengths of women. She was also the first of all the first ladies to write her memoirs (entitled Adventures of a Nobody).
Louisa and her son are shown on the back of this coin. The family had lived for nearly six years as American diplomats in the Russian capital of St. Petersburg. But then John Quincy was called to go to The Hague in the Netherlands to take part in the peace talks that would end the War of 1812.
In 1815, Louisa and her 8-year-old son Charles began the long, difficult journey from Russia to Paris, where they would join John. Louisa not only managed the family's affairs while alone in Russia, but her courage and knowledge of languages helped the two of them pass safely through foreign and often dangerous lands.