Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Featured Manuscript: Martha Washington Letter

side 1

verso, with signature

Curator's Note:

Often overlooked in the whirlwind of activity and commemoration surrounding her famous husband, Martha Washington nonetheless was a seminal figure who was quite involved in creating the image which we recognize today of George Washington. In fact, without the financial resources that Martha brought into their marriage the image we recognize today of George Washington would be much different.

The letter in the Morristown NHP collection is special for several reasons. The simple fact that the park has a letter in her hand is unique as it is well known that she destroyed nearly all of her correspondence. Second, the letter is specific to the Morristown story in that she wrote it after returning to Mount Vernon from her stay with her husband in the Ford mansion at Morristown. Third, the letter highlights the emotional toll the stress of the War was having on family members of those in the military. In the letter, Martha asks for her cousin's daughter to come stay with her for companionship at Mount Vernon due to her deep concern over the stressful circumstances in which she left her husband in Morristown. All in all, the letter offers an exceedingly rare glimpse into the private thoughts of an often overlooked figure in history whose contributions were significant.

NPS Photos. S.Minegar

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