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Abigail Filmore

The front of the Abigail Fillmore coin shows this First Lady's portrait.

Abigail Powers Fillmore was born in 1798 in Saratoga County, New York.  She needed to begin working at the age of 16, so she became a teacher.  At the same time, she continued her own education because she loved to learn.  While she was teaching at the New Hope Academy in Sempronius, New York, she met her future husband, Millard Fillmore.

After Abigail married Millard, she continued to teach for another two years until their first child was born.  This made her the first president's spouse that held a paying job after their marriage.

Abigail kept learning throughout her life.  She read avidly, attended lectures and congressional debates, and took part in political discussions.

Design on Reverse

The back of the coin shows Mrs. Fillmore with books in the White House library.

Perhaps Abigail Fillmore's most lasting contribution as first lady was that she set up a library in the White House.  President Fillmore asked Congress to fund the library, and they set aside $2,000 for the project.  Mrs. Fillmore started the collection with several hundred volumes and placed them in an oval parlor on the second floor.

In that parlor, she entertained such guests as authors Washington Irving, Charles Dickens, and William Makepeace Thackeray.  Mrs. Fillmore also spent many hours selecting and arranging books for the library.

The design depicts Mrs. Fillmore shelving books in the library that she established at the White House.


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