Edith B. Gelles is a senior scholar with the Clayman Institute for Gender Research at Stanford University. For thirty years, her research has focused on women in colonial America and especially on Abigail Adams and her family. Most recently, Gelles is the editor of Abigail Adams: Letters (2016). She has also written two biographies of Adams: Portia: World of Abigail Adams (1992), which the American Historical Association's Herbert Feis Award, and Abigail and John: Portrait of a Marriage (2009), which was a finalist for the George Washington Prize. She has also edited and written an extensive introduction to The Letters of Abigail Levy Franks, 1733-1748 (2004), the earliest surviving corpus by a woman in the colonial western world. Gelles has taught American women's history as well as the survey of world history, and she has appeared on several television documentaries, including the recent cnn series on First Ladies.
Abigail and John Adams were married for fifty-four years, but spent less than half that time living together as a family. This accounts for the profusion of letters that exist between them, as well as to and from other family members and friends. Their letters describe the dynamic era of the American Revolution and Early National periods of American history from both the home front and the state diplomatic fronts. Theirs is as well a personal story, written by the two most eloquent, endearing and authentic letter-writers of their time.