Marianne Holdzkom

Remembering John Adams: The Second President in History, Memory and Popular Culture

Has John Adams been forgotten? He is the only Founding Father without a major memorial in the nation’s capital. When he lamented that “monuments will never be erected to me,” he predicted as much. His pessimism was understandable, but it was unjustified: Adams has since been portrayed in numerous biographies, plays, musicals, poems, novels, and television shows.

This is the first comprehensive overview of John Adams as he appears in scholarship and in popular culture. The second president is one-dimensional at times, and perhaps best known to the public as “obnoxious and disliked,” but he is always fascinating. The varied ways in which biographers and artists represented Adams provide a glimpse into his character. These portrayals also provide insight into the various ways in which people continue to find meaning in the American Revolution and its aftermath.

[Added August 24, 2023]

History Camp Authors

    America's Summer Roadtrip 2020

      Marianne Holdzkom is an associate professor of history at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia. She specializes in the colonial and revolutionary periods of United States history, focusing on the study of History and Memory. Holdzkom has presented several papers examining various ways in which early U.S. history is remembered in different genres.  In addition, she has contributed chapters in edited volumes on the subject of history in popular culture including “A Past to Make Us Proud: U.S. History According to Disney” in Learning From Mickey, Donald and Walt: Essays on Disney’s Edutainment Films (McFarland, 2011). Her interest in John Adams began during the United States Bicentennial, when she first saw the musical 1776.    

      More on these topics and by these presenters

      More from History Camp