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Abigail Adams biography adds to popular interest in American Revolution

March 14, 2008 By Sara Johansen

"John Adams," a major HBO mini-series debuting this Sunday, is bound to generate renewed public interest in the era of the American Revolution and the founding of the nation. A University of Wisconsin–Madison chapbook series has been mining that rich historical territory for some time.

The latest chapbook, a biography of Abigail Adams, fits very closely with the mini-series’ focus on John and Abigail’s long and storied relationship.

Abigail Adams marks the female debut in the America’s Founders history chapbook series by John P. Kaminski, a researcher and author with the UW–Madison Department of History. "Abigail Adams: An American Heroine" details the life of "one of the most influential women in all of American history … focusing on her two most passionate loves — her husband and her country."

Abigail Adams was born in November 1744 and died almost 74 years later in October 1818. In many respects, Adams was the quintessential woman of the American Revolutionary era, except that in virtually every facet of life she excelled her contemporaries. Through her unique partnership with her husband, John, Abigail Adams became one of the most influential women in all of American history. Through her voluminous correspondence, this fascinating personality reveals the hardships women confronted during the years of America’s founding.

The 133-page book draws its intimate research from the correspondence between Abigail and John during his political service. Kaminski writes: "Well over 1,100 letters between them have survived and are now posted (both manuscript image and transcription) on the Massachusetts Historical Society’s Web site."

America’s Founders is a chapbook series published by the Parallel Press in collaboration with the Center for the Study of the American Constitution. The series is published by the libraries under their imprint, the Parallel Press, an ongoing commitment to scholarly communication as a contribution to The Wisconsin Idea. The books have been serialized by The Capital Times.

Orders may be sent to: The Parallel Press, 372 Memorial Library, 728 State Street, Madison, WI 53706, (608) 262-2600.