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Women of the Hall

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Year Honored: 1976
Birth: 1744 - Death: 1818
Born In: Massachusetts,
Died In: Massachusetts,
Achievements: Humanities
Educated In:
Schools Attended:
Worked In: Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania

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Abigail Adams

Wife of one president and mother of another, Abigail Adams was more than a family helpmate. Insightful, witty, and intensely concerned with politics, she shared and shaped her husband John's political thought and career. Because of his service to the nation in war and diplomacy, they spent more than half their married life apart, but they communicated closely. In early 1776 she was caring for their four young children alone, but she wrote him to urge daring and boldness, quoting Shakespeare: "There is a tide in the affairs of men, Which taken at the flood leads on to fortune."

In her famous "Remember the Ladies" letter, Abigail Adams half jestingly proposed that women should claim their share of liberty. She objected specifically to the legal codes under which married women could not own property. But she was ahead of her time; later generations of women would have to struggle to change such laws. "

I never wanted your advice and assistance more in my life," John Adams wrote to her earnestly after his election as the second president of the United States. Ironically, the reinforcement he gained from Abigail may have prevented him from developing the willingness to compromise. His unbending devotion to principle helped make him a one-term president.
Additional Sources:

Levin, Phyllis Lee. Abigail Adams: A Biography. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1987. NOTES: "A Thomas Dunne Book." Includes index. Bibliography: p. [551]-556.

Bobbe, Dorothie De Bear. Abigail Adams, the Second First Lady. New York: Minton, Balch & Company, 1929. NOTES: Includes index. Bibliography: p 329-330.

Withey, Lynne. Dearest Friend: A Life of Abigail Adams. New York: Free Press; London: Collier Macmillan Publishers, 1981. NOTES: Includes index. Bibliography: p. [347]-356.

Edited by: Stewart Mitchell. New Letters of Abigail Adams, 1788-1801. 1947.

Adams Family Papers 1776-1914, ca. 225 items. Library of Congress, Manuspcript Division. Washington District of Columbia.
Also available at: http://www.firstladies.org/

Adams Family Papers 1639-1889, 175 ft. Massachusetts Historical Society. Boston, Massachusetts.
Also available at: http://www.firstladies.org/