Today In Herstory

1744 (o.s.): Abigail Smith Adams born (First Lady, letter writer, farm manager)

  • was the wife of John Adams, who was the second President of the United States, and the mother of John Quincy Adams, the sixth. She was the first Second Lady of the United States, and the second First Lady of the United States.
  • Adams is remembered for the many letters she wrote to her husband while he stayed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, during the Continental Congresses. John frequently sought the advice of Abigail on many matters, and their letters are filled with intellectual discussions on government and politics. The letters serve as eyewitness accounts of the American Revolutionary War home front.
  • Adams was an advocate of married women’s property rights and more opportunities for women, particularly in the field of education. Women, she believed, should not submit to laws not made in their interest, nor should they be content with the simple role of being companions to their husbands. They should educate themselves and thus be recognized for their intellectual capabilities, so they could guide and influence the lives of their children and husbands.

1848: Boston Female Medical School opened

  • Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) is one of the graduate schools of Boston University. Founded in 1848, the medical school holds the unique distinction as the first institution in the world to formally educate female physicians. Originally known as the New England Female Medical College, it was subsequently renamed BUSM in 1873. It is notably also the first medical school in the United States to award an M.D. degree to an African-American man and African-American woman in 1864.
  • Notable alumni of the medical school include Marcia Angell, former editor-in-chief of the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine and the only woman to hold the position in the journal’s almost 200 year history, as well as Louis Wade Sullivan, former Secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services and founder of Morehouse School of Medicine. Boston University School of Medicine is ranked 31st on the 2013 list of Best Medical Schools by the US News and World Report

1917: Queen Lili’uokalani of Hawaii died

  • Lydia Lili?u Loloku Walania Wewehi Kamaka?eha, was the last monarch and only queen regnant of the Kingdom of Hawaii. She was also known as Lydia Kamaka?eha P?k?, with the chosen royal name of Lili?uokalani, and her married name was Lydia K. Dominis.
  • Upon her death, Lili?uokalani dictated in her will that all of her possessions and properties be sold and the money raised would go to the Queen Lili?uokalani Children’s Trust to help orphaned and indigent children. The Queen Lili?uokalani Trust Fund still exists today.

1938: “Typhoid Mary” — Mary Mallou — died after more than twenty years in detention in New York as a typhoid carrier

  • was the first person in the United States identified as an asymptomatic carrier of the pathogen associated with typhoid fever. She was presumed to have infected some 51 people, three of whom died, over the course of her career as a cook. She was forcibly isolated twice by public health authorities and died after a total of nearly three decades in isolation.

1991: Memorial to women who died in Vietnam cleared final authorization step

1992: Church of England General Synod votes — by two votes — to accept women as priests (story)


  • Nov 11, 1979 – Bethune Museum and Archives opens in Washington D.C. as a center for African-American women’s history, honoring Mary McLeod Bethune




  • Nov 11, 1993 – The Vietnam Women’s Memorial is dedicated in Washington, D.C. Conceived by former army combat nurse Diane Carlson Evans and sculpted by Glenna Goodacre, it honors the 265,000 women who voluntarily served during the Vietnam era


Quote for Today

“If perticuliar care and attention is not paid to the Laidies we are determined to foment a Rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, no Representation.” [sic]

Abigail Smith Adams

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