The official portrait of Abigail Fillmore
The official portrait of Abigail Fillmore
Early photo of Abigail Fillmore
Early photo of Abigail Fillmore
A painting of Abigail Fillmore
A painting of Abigail Fillmore
A drawing of Abigail Fillmore
A drawing of Abigail Fillmore
The U.S. coin for Abigail Fillmore
The U.S. coin for Abigail Fillmore
#13 Fillmore, Abigail
Topic(s):   First Ladies (U.S.)
Quick Facts
Full name Abigail Powers Fillmore
Born March 13, 1798 (Stillwater, New York)
Died March 30, 1853 (Washington, D.C.)
Nationality American
First Lady Number 13
Dates in the White House 1850 - 1853
Occupation(s) teacher
Major Achievement(s) first First Lady to have worked outside the home

Abigail Fillmore's family was poor. Her father died when she was two years old. He left little money but a lot of books. Her mother used the books to teach Abigail.

Abigail was the first First Lady to have a paying job outside the home. She began teaching school when she was 16 years old. A tall farm boy was one of her students. His name was Millard Fillmore. He was two years younger than she. They both loved to learn.

Abigail and Millard were engaged for eight years. During that time, he finished his schooling. She continued teaching. Abigail stopped teaching when they married. But she went on learning. She taught herself French. She played piano. She read many books. She talked about politics with her husband.

Millard Fillmore was Zachary Taylor's vice-president. He became president when Taylor died in office. The Fillmores moved into the White House. Abigail was shocked that there was no library. Millard got Congress to fund a White House library. Abigail chose the books herself. She hosted famous authors like Charles Dickens and Washington Irving.

Abigail was not eager to be First Lady. She was unsure of herself because she was not from a rich family. She shared First Lady duties with her daughter. Abigail died very soon after they left the White House. Millard remarried five years later.

Resource information

Bausum, A. (2007). Our country's first ladies. Washington, DC: National Geographic.

Gormley, B. (1997). First ladies: Women who called the White House home. New York: Scholastic Inc.

Kramer, S. (2001). The look-it-up book of first ladies. New York: Random House.

Pastan, A., & Smithsonian Institution. (2009). First ladies. New York: DK.

Schneider, D., & Schneider, C. J. (2001). First ladies: A biographical dictionary. New York: Facts on File.

Citation information

APA Style: Abigail Fillmore. (2017, February). Retrieved from Facts4Me at

MLA Style: "Abigail Fillmore." Facts4Me. Feb. 2017.

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