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JoAnn Peterson to portray Abigail Adams at River City festival

On May 26 at the Historic Rowlesburg School, Szilagyi Center, JoAnn F. Peterson will bring history to life in a first-person portrayal of Founding Mother Abigail Adams. The portrayal begins at 2 p.m.

This presentation is a History Alive! program of the West Virginia Humanities Council.

A witness to and active participant in our nation’s birth, Adams is well known for her advocacy of women’s rights, especially in education, and her opposition to slavery. A valued confidant and advisor to her husband John Adams, the nation’s second president, Abigail cautioned him that the Founding Fathers should “remember the ladies” in the new laws they would write for our young country. Together, they were the first inhabitants of the White House.

During the presentation, which is set in 1801 shortly after John Adams was defeated by Thomas Jefferson as President, you will hear of Adams’ life and correspondence with her husband. The letters open our eyes not only to their relationship, but to the American Revolution as it was unfolding. The presentation includes a time of Q&A with Peterson as Adams and as herself, the researcher, following her living history portrayal.

Other women portrayed by Peterson are Nellie Bly for the WV Humanities Council; child star turned diplomat Shirley Temple Black, famed Titanic survivor Margaret “The Unsinkable Molly” Brown, tragic First Lady Mary Lincoln and renowned singer Jenny Lind. Peterson also has written and performs, “A Mother’s Heart Divided, A WV Civil War Story” which tells how a family was torn in two and how West Virginia became a state in the midst of the Civil War while singing 19 songs from that era.

A film and stage actor, Peterson starred in the title role of Astrid, in “A Promise to Astrid” by JC Films which featured Dean Cain of “Superman” fame. She portrayed Julia Pierpont in the WV PBS documentary, “West Virginia: Road to Statehood.” Peterson’s credits include the role of Mother Abbess in “The Sound of Music” at West Virginia Public Theatre.

There is no admission charge for this performance, but donations for RRC are appreciated.