You may have missed this in history class: proto feminist Abigail Adams made huge profits while speculating in junk bonds during the Revolutionary War. At a time when married women weren’t allowed to own property, Abigail Adams made a killing and left her family wealthy and debt free. Notably, this was during a period when many Revolutionary War figures were drowning in debt and financially ruined.
For the first time in Connecticut, Abigail Adams—savvy business woman, outspoken First Lady, and mother of the sixth American president, John Quincy Adams—will be remembered fondly by her greatest admirer, John Adams, the second president of the United States, as portrayed by the witty and engaging historical re-enactor, George Baker, in “My Wife Abigail Adams, America’s First Modern Woman,”
As portrayed by Baker, President John Adams will reveal how the ever-audacious Abigail defied both law and conventional wisdom, and demonstrated unprecedented nerve. She waited two years for her father’s permission to marry "down" to John Adams, a lawyer and the son of a farmer. She instructed her husband to use his salary as an ambassador in Paris to buy wholesale goods and ship them home, where she sold them in war-time Boston. The first shipment, of 350 Barcelona handkerchiefs, sold in two weeks and generated so much profit that Abigail was able to buy the family a brand-new, top-of-the line carriage. Crafting her own revolution, of sorts, Abigail even drafted a will—unheard of at the time for a married woman—and left the bulk of her estate to 23 other married women, who, in turn, became property owners themselves.