John Adams Criticized Abigail For Reading Too Much. Then They Got Married.

If you and your boo have little interest in the special menus being served up across Lower Manhattan for Valentine’s Day, it’s understandable: Restaurants get crowded! And if getting at least eight hours of shut-eye is important to you, a late night of wining and dining can seem even less appealing. So maybe an afternoon respite at Fraunces Tavern is the thing. At 2p on Friday, February 14, a museum admission to the historical pub gains you a bonus tour of “Love in the Time of Revolution,” a romantic spin on the usual edification sessions that happen under the Fraunces roof. 

Programs and Events Assistant Mary Tsaltas-Ottomanelli will cover 17th century courting techniques (which should come in handy if you ever frequent Brooklyn), as well as love letters between revolutionary-era couples. But don’t let the exquisite penmanship fool you — these love letters aren’t always as charming as they look. Take one example from John Adams to his sweetheart, Abigail, in which the future president catalogs a number of qualities she possessed that he didn’t much care for, e.g. poor posture and reading too much. Quite the suitor. 

Here’s another tidbit one can expect from “Love in the Time of Revolution.” This comes via email from Fraunces’s staff:  

You also learn about the complicated relationship between Benedict Arnold and Peggy Shippen — how he defected, how she helped him, how their relationship changed after his defection. She visited Theodosia Burr afterwards and (according to Aaron Burr) spoke openly about how she was a loyalist and how she cried wolf to Washington in order to not be a prisoner of war after Benedict left her at West Point to fend for herself and child.  

Romance isn’t so simple, is it? That’s why “Love in the Time of Revolution” is a perfect fit for those who don’t want to give into the typical conventions of this highly commercialized holiday. Here’re the other exhibitions at Fraunces that you may want to check out while you’re there.