Lynne Cheney is the author of America: A Patriotic Primer and a longtime advocate of teaching our country’s history to children. Scroll below to read “A Is For Abigail: An Almanac of Amazing American Women” as she efforts to bring the great women of American history to life.
A is for Abigail Adams, who knew that women should be heard.
While her husband, John, was helping to create the American nation, Abigail Adams ran the family farm and took care of their four children. John would become our second president. John Quincy, John and Abigail’s oldest son, would become our sixth president.
Abigail decided whom to hire, what to plant, and when to harvest, and she prided herself on her skill.
“The barley looks charmingly,” she wrote to John in the spring of 1776.
As the Revolutionary War approached, Abigail’s treasured pewter spoons were melted to make bullets.
In Abigail’s time, most people didn’t think it was important for girls to be educated-but Abigail knew better and said so.
Much of their fifty-four-year marriage was spent apart as John was helping to create the new country. Abigail wrote him hundreds of letters.
Although her house was small, Abigail willingly gave shelter to soldiers fighting for America’s cause.
Abigail wove homespun cloth during the Revolutionary War and made clothes for the whole family.
When John was able to come home, Abigail was very happy. She called him her “dearest friend.”
Abigail and John Adams lived in this house in Braintree, Massachusetts.
K is for Mary Kies and other inventors and entrepreneurs.
In 1809 Mary Kies received the first U.S. patent granted to a woman. Her invention, a method of weaving straw and silk together, advanced the art of hat making.
In the 1950s Marion Donovan invented the first disposable diaper.
The daughter of immigrants, Estée Lauder started a cosmetics company in 1946 that is a multibillion-dollar business today.
Rose Michtom, an immigrant from Russia, created the first teddy bear in 1902.
Madame C. J. Walker developed hair-care products for African Americans. The company she started in 1906 was a great success.
In the 1870s Margaret Knight invented the machine-made paper bag.
Selling everything “from hat to hem,” Hattie Carnegie, who immigrated to America as a child in 1892, built a multimillion-dollar fashion empire.
Text copyright © 2003 by Lynne V. Cheney