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  • Writer's pictureMatilda Butler


Updated: May 17, 2023

No? Well here's the inspirational message we find in examining her life:


Stand Up for What You Believe

Not Sure Who Abigail Smith is?

Let me remind you of some of the facets of her life. Then I’m sure you will remember.

  • Born November 11, 1744

  • Father Reverend William Smith, a Congregationalist minister and mother a Quincy

  • Childhood nickname: Nabby

  • Pet nicknames given by husband: Miss Adorable; Portia (reference to the intelligent heroine in Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice)

  • Managed family farm in Braintree and four children alone…during the many absences of her husband while he ran his law firm, represented Massachusetts in Continental Congresses in Philadelphia, performed diplomatic duties in Europe, served as George Washington’s Vice President and as second president of the US.

  • Advocated for the rights of women. On March 31, 1776, she wrote to her husband:

“…remember the ladies and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the husbands. Remember, all men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation.”
  • Wrote letters and letters and more letters…Not just the one cited above. Abigail and her husband wrote at least 1160 letters to each other.

  • Opposed slavery. Father owned slaves, but she was against the practice.

In March 1776, she wrote: “I have sometimes been ready to think that the passion for liberty cannot be eaqually [sic] strong in the breasts of those who have been accustomed to deprive their fellow Creatures of theirs.”
  • Lacked formal education…as was typical for all women in that era. But she used her family's library to learn as much as possible.

  • First presidential wife to live in White House. The nation’s capitol was in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania until May 1800 when the White House was deemed livable. Upon moving in, Abigail said, “Not a chamber is finished of a whole,” And due to poor insulation, even the public rooms were cold when she moved in on November 1, 1800.

  • Mother of sixth president of US.

Remember the ladies...

I could go on, but the “remember the ladies” quote probably gave away the identity of this founding foremother. Yes, this is Abigail Smith Adams, an amazing woman. You can see why we found her inspirational message to us to be:



Stand Up for What You Believe

What Were Her Beliefs?

Abigail was a proponent of more rights for women. Yes, she wrote to her husband about not putting all the power in the hands of men. But even more importantly, she worked to open educational opportunities as she wanted others to have more access than she had.

She was also an opponent of slavery. Here's an example of how that played out in her life:

Abigail gave reading and writing lessons to a free Black boy who had come to her door asking to be taught. Later she enrolled him in an evening school. One day, without warning, a neighbor confronted her about a Black in the school. Abigail said, “He is as much a Freeman as any of the [other] young Men and merely because his Face is Black, is he to be denied instruction? How is he to be qualified to procure a livelihood? … I have not thought it any disgrace to my self to take him into my parlor and teach him to both read and write.” It is reported that the neighbor backed off and no further objections were raised.


We've designated Abigail Adams as 1776 Strong. She is an amazing woman who took on life's challenges. And although many were difficult for her, she thrived.

Inspirational and Aspirational Quotes: Abigail Adams

Which One Speaks to You?

I've always felt that a person's intelligence is directly reflected by the number of conflicting points of view he can entertain simultaneously on the same topic. ~ Abigail Adams
If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice, or representation. ~ Abigail Adams

Wisdom and penetration are the fruit of experience, not the lessons of retirement and leisure. Great necessities call out great virtues. ~ Abigail Adams



Stand Up for What You Believe


We're introducing Abigail Adams as an important woman in our AMERICA250 Women series. In just two years -- July 4, 2026 -- we'll all celebrate America's semiquincentennial -- the 250th year of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. While others may celebrate the Founding Fathers, we will celebrate the many Founding Mothers who have helped shape this nation through the decades. You'll be hearing more from us in the coming months.

PREVIEW COMING SOON: We're Even Creating Our AMERICA250 Costume

We're known for our authentic costumes -- Rosie the Riveter, Wendy the Welder, and the suffragettes Victoria Woodhull and Nannie Helen Burroughs. So it's not surprising that we've spent months deciding on the accessory elements that are historically accurate for Colonial women. Check back soon. And be sure to sign up below to be on our email list so you'll be the first to know when the costume accessories are ready.


"Remember the ladies."

Abigail Adams to John Adams, March 31, 1776

(in authentic font)

"If we mean to have Heroes, Statesmen,

and Philosophers, we should have

learned women."

Abigail Adams to John Adams, August 1776

(in authentic font)


Missed Our Previous Blogs? Check these out!

Rosie the Riveter's Riveting Story -- Find out the connection to Jackie Kennedy's fashion designer and Rosalind Palmer Walter (major funder of public television).

Wendy the Welder (Rosie the Riveter's Co-Worker)

Want More Stories about Amazing Women? More Inspiration for Your Own Life?

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05 lug 2022

I love the way you're branching out beyond Rosie the Riveter and her cohort.

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05 lug 2022
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Thanks for your comment. There are so many amazing women and we're loving researching and writing about them in our blog. We are also super-excited to be working on a new costume accessory set for Colonial women. Women, across time, have made incredible contributions. And soon we'll help you to Be a Revolutionary American Woman -- to Be 1776 Strong.

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