American Historical Writer
1756 – 1832
Hannah Adams, one of the earliest female writers in America, the authoress of a View of Religious Opinions, a History of New England, and a History of the Jews, was born at Medfield, near Boston, in 1756, and died at Brookline, Mass., November 15, 1832. Her father who kept a country store, was a man of literary tastes, and rather better educated than persons of his class usually were at the time. She showed at an early age a fondness for study, and acquired a knowledge of Greek and Latin from some divinity students boarding with her father. So great was her love for reading, that when very young she had committed to memory much of Milton, Pope, Thomson, Young, and several other poets.
Her father failed in business when she was but seventeen, thus obliging his family to provide for themselves. During the Revolutionary war she supported herself by making lace, and afterwards by teaching. Her first work was published in 1784, and met a ready sale. Her History of New England next appeared, in 1799, and was likewise successful, but the labor that it cost seriously impaired her health. Her writings, though extensively read, brought her very little pecuniary profit; yet they secured her many friends, and some of them persons in high station, among whom President Adams and the Abbé Gregoire may be enumerated.
The latter part of her life she passed in Boston, in the midst of a large circle of friends, by whom she was warmly esteemed and cherished for the singular excellency, purity, and simplicity of her character. During the closing years of her life she enjoyed an annuity provided by the liberality of some admirers. She was the first person whose remains were interred in Mt. Auburn cemetery.
Her literary work showed great candor and liberality of mind and extensive research; and, although they were popular, yet they brought her deserved fame which, linked with her gentleness of manners, made her a loved figure in our early literary life.
Reference: Woman: Her Position, Influence, and Achievement Throughout the Civilized World published by the King-Richardson Co. in 1903.