Abigail Adams

Portrayed by Kim Hanley

Kim Hanley as Abigail AdamsAbigail Smith Adams was an educated upper class woman whose well-articulated opinions on government, politics and life in general were sought by at least two American presidents: her husband President John Adams, and her son President John Quincy Adams. She embraced her role as wife and mother, passionately embodying the Enlightenment concept of Woman as keeper of household virtue. If Abigail Adams erred, she felt it was on the side of common sense. She would choose the simplest, most direct approach, since she had no time for complicated solutions. Abigail’s biggest causes were education and fairer treatment of women. She advocated education for both men and women, so they would be informed enough to deserve to be enfranchised.  Although she could be blunt, Abigail advocated discussion and usually accorded and received respect. She is probably best remembered for her letter asking her husband to “remember the ladies” when enacting new laws. She asked John to limit the power of husbands over their wives by asking husbands to become friends of their wives and protect them, rather than empowering husbands to act as masters over their wives, and thereby continuing to abuse them.

Abigail Adams is a woman who calls it like she sees it, and Kim Hanley shows us a woman who will confront something that needs to be addressed, even if it makes her uncomfortable. Abigail is an upper class woman who married a man she respected, a life partner who took her seriously. Although Abigail is sometimes belatedly considered elitist for believing that uneducated Americans had not earned a vote, Kim reminds us that our first Second Lady and second First Lady wanted a knowledgeable electorate able to make informed decisions. Ms. Hanley’s interactive school programs involve audience members who begin with large piles of money that grow smaller with each tax act that the British Parliament passes, illustrating the economic tyranny the colonials faced under British rule. Abigail contrasts this inequality with a look into an egalitarian marriage of two intelligent, articulate people who value themselves, each other and their relationship.

Invite Abigail Adams to your event:
• Keynote Speaker: Women’s Issues, Patriotism, Education, and other topics on request
Educational Programs: Schools, Libraries, Museums, Historical Sites: Remember the Ladies, 40 minutes plus Q & A
• Plays: First Ladies First with Dolley Madison, Martha Washington and Gilbert Stuart -  40 minutes + Q & A; John and Abigail Adams: Dearest Friends, 40 minutes + Q & A
• Pair with Dolley Madison, Martha Washington, John Adams, and Eleanor Roosevelt
• Kim Hanley: Bio of Actor/Historian, Reenactor, or Impersonator

“What a delighful way to spend an afternoon! The patrons were charmed with your excellent re-enactment of Abigail Adams and learned so much from your insights into this great lady’s life.” Prince William Public Library, Virginia

“She kept the audience on their toes, and many said they wished she would speak forever…. We were all transported back in time as she made history come alive.” –Friends of the Stafford Library, Manahawkin, NJ

“You are the perfect Abigail Adams. You are gracious, witty, and very knowlegeable. Thank you for an absolutely wonderful evening.” B.D., Spring Lake Historical Society

VIEW photos of Abigail Adams, Martha Washington, and Dolley Madison at the National Portrait Gallery: Photos by Jeff Malet