An Evening with Abigail Adams
In her many letters to her husband and friends, Abigail Adams expressed the concerns and accomplishments of an early American patriotic woman. Her most famous request was for Congress to "Remember the ladies" in the creation of the Constitution of the United States. It was her clear understanding that women's influences in the domestic sphere were as integral to the development of a new nation as the more public efforts of the founding fathers. Family economics, children's education and civic responsibility are the primary concerns of Abigail Adams. Her requests for legislation to benefit future generations included the necessity of education for all children regardless of sex or color, as well as the right to self-determination for all individuals including the emancipation of slaves and granting wives equal status under the law. An understanding of her hopes for posterity begs the question: If the founding fathers would have heeded Mrs. Adams’s advice sooner, would the nation have been spared years of strife from civil war to civil rights? A conversation with ‘Dear Abigail’, 18th century wife and mother, provides insight into the concerns of today's Americans and visitors.
Kim Hanley has opened eyes and put smiles on faces as an historical impersonator of Abigail Adams, Betsy Ross, Annie Oakley, Alice Roosevelt and other compelling American women. This past year she has added the Characters of Lucretia Mott and Grace Coolidge to her repertoire, and is currently developing a program as Mary Young Pickersgill. Hanley earned her BFA in Restoration and History of Decorative Arts from the State University of New York and she quickly combined her passions for history and theatre as an historical character in outdoor productions in Philadelphia’s historic district, and in Independence National Historical Park. Kim took a further step toward developing her craft later that year, when she joined The American Historical Theatre, based in Philadelphia. As a child, Hanley performed for The New York City Ballet, the Bolshoi Ballet, and the Stuttgart Ballet Companies and in her later youth she trained at The School of American Ballet, and later with Andre Eglevsky. She began singing in junior high school and worked as a soprano in several a cappella vocal ensembles, and The Colonial Consort continues today with the 18th-century group The Liberty Tones and the traditional Christmas caroling group The MistleTones. Hanley is also an historical costume designer and has designed many of her own costumes as well as those for interpreters of other 18th century American historical figures.