First Lady Abigail Smith Adams (1744-1818) was a gifted observer and prolific letter writer. She composed thousands of letters about current politics, her Federalist ideas, and her life during and after the American Revolution.
"These are times in which a genius would wish to live. It is not in the still calm of life, or the repose of a pacific station, that great characters are formed," she wrote.
Resourceful and inquisitive, her reflections became a priceless documentation of an important time in history. "We have too many high-sounding words, and too few actions that correspond with them," she admitted.
Her husband, John Adams, the second President of the United States, was her biggest fan and once told her, "a delicious letter from you is worth a dozen of mine."
Born to a prestigious family in the seaport town of Weymouth, Massachusetts, Mrs. Adams read passionately and was a strong advocate of women's rights. "Remember the ladies," she urged, arguing that educated mothers raised intelligent children.
"Learning is not attained by chance," she said, "it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence."
A remarkable woman, way ahead of her time, she once declared she would "not forget the blessings which sweeten life." She had enormous influence on her husband, and her son, John Quincy, who became president six years after her death.
Put it in writing.