Remember the Ladies

“I long to hear that you have declared an independency. And, by the way, in the new code of laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make, I desire you would 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.”

3a53320r

Abigail Adams. Prints and Photographs Division.

Abigail Adams wrote these words to her husband, John Adams, on March 31, 1776, nearly 150 years before the House of Representatives voted to pass the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote. Her words urged him and the other members of the Continental Congress to consider the rights of women while laying the framework for the new, independent nation.

Abigail Adams was an advocate for greater political rights for women, especially in regards to divorce and property ownership. While her husband didn’t heed her advice then, he did consider her his better half. The two exchanged countless letters discussing everyday life and his political work, although wrote John, “as to what passes in Congress I am tied fast by my honour to communicate nothing.”

The two were married for 54 years, and their marriage was one of mutual respect and affection. Adams died in 1818, eight years before her husband. Her obituary read, “Possessing, at every period of life, the unlimited confidence, as well as affection of her husband, she was admitted, at all times, to share largely of his thoughts. … she was a friend, whom it was his delight to consult in every perplexity of public affairs; and whose councils never failed to partake of that happy harmony, which prevailed in her character; in which intuitive judgment was blended with consummate prudence; the spirit of conciliation, with the spirit of her station, and the refinement of her sex. In the storm, as well as on the smooth sea of life, her virtues were ever the object of his trust and veneration.”

Equal Franchise Society reproduces extract from famous Abigal Adams letter of March 31, 1776 in which she warns John to "Remember the Ladies." Rare Book and Special Collections Division.

Equal Franchise Society reproduces extract from famous Abigal Adams letter of March 31, 1776 in which she warns John to “Remember the Ladies.” Rare Book and Special Collections Division.

The Library’s collections contain a wide variety of resources related to John and Abigail Adams and his contributions to the nation. This resource guide compiles links to digital materials related such as manuscripts, letters, broadsides, government documents and images that are available throughout the Library of Congress website.

In addition, the Library is home to the National American Woman Suffrage Association Collection along with the papers of suffrage movement leaders like Susan B. Anthony and Carrie Chapman Catt. Even more resources can be found on the Library’s Women’s History Month web portal.

Easter Week Illuminations

(The following is a guest post by Levon Avdoyan, Armenian and Georgian area specialist in the African and Middle Eastern Division.) The feast of Easter is arguably the holiest of holidays for the various Christian denominations but especially for the Eastern Churches – among those, the Armenian Church. For it, Easter Week (Avag Shabat, the […]

Pic of the Week: It’s Bloomin’ Time

This week marks the beginning of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, an annual event held in Washington, D.C. to commemorate the gift of some 3,000 Yoshino cherry trees given to the city in 1912 as a symbol of friendship between Japan and the United States. The grounds of the Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building are home […]

Congas, Sambas and Falling Plaster

I was 15 years old, sitting cross-legged next to my friend Mascha on a cork-tile floor at Mammoth Gardens, a roller-skating rink built in 1910. Plaster, occasionally, was falling from the ceiling – because the band on the stage that night was the drum-heavy Santana, which had just released its 1970 album “Abraxas.” That’s the […]

Ask Us Anything: Reddit AMA on Rosa Parks Papers 3/29

(The following is a guest post by Information Technology Specialist Michelle Rago.) Library experts involved in making the papers of Rosa Parks available online will answer your questions in a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) session beginning at 9 a.m. (ET) on March 29, 2016. Join us on the AskHistorians subreddit. The collection contains some 7,500 […]

Happy 265th James Madison!

James Madison is known as the Father of the Constitution because of his pivotal role in the document’s drafting as well as its ratification. Madison also drafted the first 10 amendments — the Bill of Rights. When the federal Constitution was approved by the states and went into effect in 1789, the absence of a […]

A Gorey Story

The work of Edward Gorey has often been described as “macabre,” a word that his friend Alexander Theroux claims the noted author and artist didn’t like. While I would agree that it’s an appropriate word, Gorey’s drawings are something more – odd, whimsical, humorous, magical, mysterious, gloomy, eccentric – all rolled up in delightful pen-and-ink […]

Pic of the Week: Hedge Coke Honored as Witter Bynner Fellow

On Wednesday, poet Allison Hedge Coke was honored as the 2016 Witter Bynner Fellow. She was selected and introduced by Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry at the Library of Congress, Juan Felipe Herrera. In his selection, Herrera said he sought to honor Hedge Coke “for her precision of Earth, of suffering in and out of […]

A Voice from Hoops History

(March Madness is right around the corner, and the Library of Congress has an interesting connection to basketball’s invention. The following is a story written by Mark Hartsell for the Gazette, the Library’s staff newsletter.) Basketball, unique among major sports, has a clear creation story: We know when, where, why and how the game was invented, […]