Thursday, June 9, 2011

Millard Filmore (for Millard Fillmore)

What do you know about Millard Fillmore, or even better, his wife, Abigail Powers? I knew nothing, essentially, but after a bit of research, I now know that Millard was a member of the Know Nothing Party, a nativist, anti-Papist movement opposed to immigration and naturalization (mainly of German and Irish Catholics), which splintered over the issue of slavery. (The party was rather secretive and members were advised to rotely reply, "I know nothing" when asked about its activities.) Abigail was two years older than Millard and was his teacher when they first met. (She had been born in Saratoga County, but her widowed mother moved her and her brother to western New York shortly after her birth, where she felt they would be better able to survive on their own.) Abigail and Millard were both bookworms and libraries had played a large part in their lives: together they established the first White House Library. In 1846, Millard Fillmore also founded the University of Buffalo, a private college which later became the State University of New York at Buffalo. There were six hits on Millard Filmore in OhioLINK and 57 in WorldCat. A combined search on Filmore + Fillmore garnered 12 hits and 103 hits, respectively.

(House built by Millard Fillmore in East Aurora, NY, in 1825, where he lived with his wife Abigail until 1830. Image created and copyright held by Yoho2001, Toronto, Ontario, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

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