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Abbott, Berenice (17 July 1898–10 December 1991), photographer, was born in Springfield, Ohio, the daughter of Charles E. Abbott and Alice Bunn. Her parents were divorced soon after Abbott’s birth, and she was raised by her mother in Columbus, Ohio. After attending public schools there and in Cleveland, she entered Ohio State University but withdrew after one semester (1917–1918). She traveled to New York City, where she supported herself by working as a waitress, as an artist’s model, and as a bit player at the Provincetown Playhouse. She became interested in sculpture and in the course of her work met surrealist photographer ...

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Abbott, Edith (26 September 1876–28 July 1957), social reformer, social work educator, and author, was born in Grand Island, Nebraska, the daughter of Othman Ali Abbott, a lawyer and first lieutenant governor of Nebraska, and Elizabeth Maletta Griffin, a woman suffrage advocate. Abbott grew up in a comfortable and politically progressive household on the American prairie. However, the severe economic depression that began in 1893 caused Abbott to postpone her college plans after graduation from an Omaha girls’ boarding school. Instead, at the age of seventeen she became a teacher at the Grand Island High School....

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Abbott, Emma (09 December 1850–05 January 1891), soprano and opera impresario, was born in Chicago, Illinois, the daughter of Seth Abbott, an itinerant musician and music teacher, and Almira Palmer. Abbott’s father encouraged her and her brother George to develop the musical ability that they demonstrated at an early age. Emma, who sang constantly as a child, chose the guitar as her instrument; her brother studied the violin. In 1854 the family moved from Chicago to Peoria, Illinois, and their fortunes declined. To supplement the family income Seth Abbott and the two musical children began to give concerts in Peoria and elsewhere starting in 1859; according to contemporary biographical lexicographer F. O. Jones, the trio performed hundreds of concerts during this period....

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Grace Abbott Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-111723).

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Julie Longo and Sandra F. VanBurkleo

Abbott, Grace (17 November 1878–19 June 1939), social worker and administrator, was born in Grand Island, Nebraska, the daughter of Othman Ali Abbott, a lawyer and politician, and Elizabeth Griffin, a high school principal. The Abbott household provided an intellectually stimulating environment, emphasizing reading, discussion, and formal education for all four children. Othman Abbott encouraged both Grace and her older sister ...

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Abel-Henderson, Annie Heloise (18 February 1873–14 March 1947), historian and author, was born in Fernhurst, Sussex, England, the daughter of George Abel and Amelia Anne Hogben. Her parents had immigrated to the United States in 1871 but had not found Kansas frontier life appealing and returned home to England. In 1884, however, they went back to Salina, Kansas, where George Abel worked as a gardener. Abel and two sisters joined their parents in 1885....

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Bella Abzug. Campaign poster. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-109588).

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Abzug, Bella (24 July 1920–31 March 1998), lawyer, feminist leader, and U.S. representative, was born Bella Savitsky in the Bronx, New York, the daughter of Emmanuel Savitsky, butcher, and Ester Tanklefsky Savitsky. She attended local schools before entering Hunter College in Manhattan, where she took part in student government and was active in the Zionist movement. She entered Columbia University Law School following her graduation in 1942 but soon left school and took a wartime job in a shipyard. She married Martin Abzug, a writer who later became a stockbroker, in 1944; the couple had two daughters. Abzug returned to Columbia and served as editor of the ...

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Abigail Adams. After a painting by Gilbert Stuart. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-10016 DLC).

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Adams, Abigail (11 November 1744–28 October 1818), first lady and woman of intellect, was born in Weymouth, Massachusetts, the daughter of William Smith, a Congregational minister, and Elizabeth Quincy. Abigail grew up in a prominent and wealthy family, descended from Puritan leaders and successful merchants. She had no formal schooling, both because of her recurrent illnesses and the limited options available to girls. Yet neither obstacle prevented her from achieving a remarkably broad and sophisticated education. She enjoyed the family’s well-stocked library, the stimulating company of educated relatives and parsonage visitors, and the attentive tutelage of her grandmother. Her studies ranged from Shakespeare to Locke, from Plato to French. She also began two lifelong habits: letter-writing to distant relatives and friends, and the practice of a deep Congregational faith....

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Elisabeth Sherwin

Adams, Alice (14 August 1926–27 May 1999), writer, was born in Fredericksburg, Virginia, the daughter of Nicholson Barney Adams, a professor of Spanish at the University of North Carolina, and Agatha Erskine Boyd Adams. An only child, Adams grew up in a Chapel Hill, North Carolina, farmhouse. As Adams recalled in a July 1996 talk at the University of California, Davis (UCD), “I was one of those really horrible children who wrote poetry. I came from an extremely literary little town, Chapel Hill, so writing was considered a marvelous thing to do. For me to become a writer was not the least rebellious, it was conformity.” She described her family as “three difficult, isolated people” and her mother as a depressed person and failed writer. “My mother read all the time so I thought: ‘If I'm a maybe she'll like me’” (quoted in ...

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Adams, Annette Abbott (12 March 1877–26 October 1956), lawyer and judge, was born in Prattville, California, the daughter of Hiram Brown Abbott, a storekeeper and justice of the peace, and Annette Frances Stubbs, a teacher. Adams earned a teaching credential from Chico State Normal School in 1897 and became schoolmistress of a country school until she entered the University of California-Berkeley in 1901. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in 1904, she taught high school in a rural county, serving as principal from 1907 to 1910. Encouraged by county trial judge John E. Raker, Adams entered Boalt Hall and supported herself while earning a J.D. The dean recommended her, the only woman in the class of 1912, to Western Pacific Railway for their house counsel. The company rejected her on the basis of gender, and she opened a private practice in Plumas County. She hired an instructor to learn how to change her voice from soprano to baritone to suit her masculine legal role. In 1906 she married Martin H. Adams but left him after one month. By 1914 she let others assume that she was a widow, although she and Adams never divorced. For thirty years she shared her home with her brother....

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Adams, Hannah (02 October 1755–15 December 1831), historian of religions and writer, was born in Medfield, Massachusetts, the daughter of Thomas Adams, Jr., a merchant of “English goods” and books, and Elizabeth Clark. She was a distant cousin of President John Adams. Adams lost her mother when she was eleven; her father remarried and had four more children with his second wife. Using the inheritance of her grandfather’s prosperous farm for capital, her father opened a store. By the time she was in her teens the business had failed and depleted the family’s resources to a level of need from which they would never recover. Although her father was never able to bring to his family any financial stability, he was able to share with his daughter an avid thirst for knowledge and his love of reading. In his youth, illness had prevented him from pursuing formal education, but, driven by personal ambition, he became extremely well read and mastered an exhaustive collection of facts....

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Harriet Chalmers Adams. Harriet Chalmers Adams. Harriet Chalmers Adams, 1908. Glass negative. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-DIG-npcc-19900).

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Adams, Harriet Chalmers (22 October 1875–17 July 1937), explorer, lecturer, and writer, was born Harriet Chalmers in Stockton, California. Her father, Alexander Chalmers, Canadian via Scotland, came to California in 1864 to try his luck mining; he later ran a dry goods store with his brother before becoming a mine superintendent and part-owner. Her mother, Frances Wilkins, had grown up in the Sierra Nevada foothills. From the age of eleven Harriet and her sister Anna had private tutors. Her mother encouraged Harriet’s love of reading, while travels with her father developed her interest in the natural world as well as the Native American and Spanish-speaking cultures in the region. At thirteen Harriet and her father spent more than six months meandering the length of the Sierras from Oregon to Mexico, cementing her lifelong love of adventure. As a young woman Harriet continued her indoor and outdoor studies and had an active social life. She was fluent in Spanish and spoke Portuguese, French, Italian, and German as well....

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Adams, Harriet Stratemeyer (11 December 1892–27 March 1982), author and partner in the Stratemeyer Syndicate, was born in Newark, New Jersey, the daughter of Edward Stratemeyer, an author and the founder of the Stratemeyer Literary Syndicate, and Magdalene Van Camp. Much of Adams’s life was influenced by her famous father. Circa 1905 he established the Stratemeyer Literary Syndicate, whereby he developed new juvenile series, hired writers to flesh out plot outlines he created, then successfully marketed the manuscripts to publishers. Exposure to her father’s career sparked an early interest in writing. Years later Adams recalled watching her father and one of his chief ghostwriters, ...

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Louisa Catherine Adams. Engraving after painting by Charles Robert Leslie. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-14438 DLC).

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Adams, Louisa Catherine Johnson (12 February 1775–15 May 1852), first lady, was born in London, England, the daughter of Joshua Johnson, an American merchant, and Catherine Nuth (or Young). Though it is known that her father was a prominent businessman and that her uncle ...

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Adams, Marian Hooper (13 September 1843–06 December 1885), Washington hostess, pioneer photographer, and the wife of Henry Adams, Washington hostess, pioneer photographer, and the wife of Henry Adams, was born in Boston to Edward Hooper, a wealthy ophthalmologist, and Ellen Sturgis Hooper, a Transcendental poet. “Clover,” as she was called, grew up among an affectionate clan of community conscious relatives who offered her continuing warmth and encouragement after the death of her mother when she was just five. Her father subsequently gave up his regular practice in order to rear his three children. And he became especially close to Clover, the youngest....