Letter, Martha Washington to Elizabeth Dandridge Henley, August 20, 1797

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  • Letter, Martha Washington to Elizabeth Dandridge Henley, August 20, 1797

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Title

Letter, Martha Washington to Elizabeth Dandridge Henley, August 20, 1797

Subject

Martha Washington as Mistress of the Household

Description

Elizabeth Henley was Martha Washington’s youngest sister. Her daughter Frances “Fanny” Henley (not to be confused with Martha’s other niece Frances “Fanny” Bassett Washington Lear, who had died a year earlier) came to Mount Vernon for a visit in the summer of 1797. This letter informs Henley that Fanny had arrived safely. Martha also laments that she has had to take up housekeeping chores that would normally have been left to slaves. Earlier in the year, just before the Washingtons left Philadelphia at the end of George’s second Presidential term, two slaves, Ona Judge, Martha’s bodyservant, and Hercules, the cook, had both run away from the household (image courtesy of Mount Vernon Ladies' Association).

Creator

Martha Washington

Date

1797-08-20

Language

eng

Additional Item Metadata

Citation

The Martha Washington Collection, Mount Vernon.

Document Item Type Metadata

Text

Partial transcript:

"...am obliged to be my one [own] Housekeeper which takes up the greatest part of my time, - our cook Hercules went away so that I am as much at a loss for a cook as for a house keeper. - altogether I am sadly plaiged..."

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How to Cite this Item

Martha Washington, "Letter, Martha Washington to Elizabeth Dandridge Henley, August 20, 1797," in Martha Washington, Item #42, http://www.marthawashington.us/items/show/42 (accessed July 29, 2014).