Mary Newbury Adams (1837-1901), third child of Reverend and Mrs. Samuel Newbury, was born in Peru, Indiana. Her father was a firm believer in education for both sexes. When Mary was nineteen years of age, she was sent to Mrs. Willard's Female Seminary in Troy, New York, where she graduated in 1857. She married Austin Adams, a young lawyer and teacher, a few months later. Their home in Dubuque became an avant-garde salon for intellectuals of the period (1860's through 1880's). In 1866, Mrs. Adams became interested in women's suffrage and did much to promote it through writing and speaking. She was a member of the Association for Advancement of Women, the American Historical Association, vice chairperson of Women's Branch of the World's Congress Auxiliary of the Colombian Exposition, and numerous literary societies.
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