The extensive correspondence between Abigail and John Adams chronicles in intimate detail the uncertainty, dangers, and sheer “messiness” of the early years leading up to the 1776 Declaration of Independence from Great Britain, and later, the adoption of the Constitution in 1787. John spent many weeks and months away from his wife and children as he attended to the affairs of state in Boston, Philadelphia, and elsewhere, while Abigail remained at home with their growing family and tending to the farm in the midst of a war zone. Historian Joseph Ellis wrote that John and Abigail “happened to be living through the most tumultuous and consequential chapter in America’s birth as a nation when the core values were declared and the abiding institutions created… And both of them happened to be, in their own distinctive ways, prose stylists of equally uncommon felicity. If you want to understand how the American republic was improvised on the run, this is a seminal source. If you want to understand how a husband and wife can sustain their love over a lifetime of struggle and tragedy, this is a splendid story of an emotional and intellectual partnership that endured to the end. It is an epic tale about the making of American history and a great love story all rolled into one.”
“My Dearest Friend: Letters of Abigail and John Adams” edited by Margaret A. Hogan and C. James Taylor, with a forward by Joseph J. Ellis. Participants are strongly encouraged to purchase this book since each class will be based on the letters incorporated in it.