A description of Oney Judge appears in a 1796 runaway advertisement: “a light mulatto [mixed-race] girl, much freckled, with very black eyes and bushy black hair, she is of middle stature, slender, and delicately formed.” The ad also noted that Judge has “many changes of good clothes, of all sorts.”
Judge is depicted holding a cloth and needle. As Martha Washington’s lady’s maid, Judge spent many hours sewing.
Female household workers like Oney Judge wore simpler versions of the gowns the Washington women wore, made of cheaper material. Their gowns were ankle-length for freedom of movement. If their work assignment was a public one, such as a maid or personal servant, they likely wore stays (a type of corset). They also wore aprons over their gowns, caps over their hair, stockings, and shoes with buckles. Learn More