The Mount Vernon Ladies' Association was the first national historic preservation organization and is the oldest women's patriotic society in the United States. Its pioneering efforts in the field of preservation set an important precedent and have served as a model for many.

“If the men of America have seen fit to allow the home of its most respected hero to go to ruin, why can't the women of America band together to save it?”

In 1853, Louisa Bird Cunningham wrote these words to her daughter, Ann Pamela Cunningham, after seeing the decrepit state of George Washington's home while traveling on the Potomac River.

Ann Pamela Cunningham, inspired by her mother's words, took it upon herself to challenge the nation to save Mount Vernon. She founded the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association in 1853 and by 1858 had raised $200,000 dollars to purchase the mansion and two hundred acres.

We Do Not Accept Government Funding

We are proud that Mount Vernon has never accepted government funding during our 150+ year history. We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and rely solely upon patriotic individuals, foundations, and corporations to help preserve George Washington’s home and to educate visitors from all over the world.

The Early History of the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association

Ann Pamela Cunningham formed the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association in 1853 and became the organization's first Regent.

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Ann Pamela Cunningham challenged first the women of the South, and later the women of the entire country to save the home of George Washington. After convincing John Augustine Washington III to sell the property, Cunningham and the organization she had founded, the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association of the Union, raised $200,000 to purchase the mansion and two hundred acres.

The Mount Vernon Ladies' Association took over operation of the estate in 1860 through the present day.

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Help Us Preserve Washington's Home

For more than 150 years, the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association has protected and preserved the home of the Father of Our Country.

We continue to restore and maintain the Mansion, grounds, and outbuildings so that the millions of people who visit each year can experience the estate as it looked at the time of Washington’s death in 1799.

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Notes:

1. "Mount Vernon," in The Kenosha Telegraph, 24 May 1860 (photostat, RM-77/PS2223, Mount Vemon Ladies' Association).

2. Pictured in the cover photo (left to right), standing: Mrs. Barry (Illinois), Mrs. Walker (North Carolina), Mrs. Washington (Virginia), Mrs. Halstead (New Jersey), Mrs. Emory (District of Columbia), Mrs. Chace (Rhode Island); seated: Mrs. Mitchell (Wisconsin), Mrs. Brooks (New York), Mrs. Sweat (Maine), Miss Cunningham (Regent), Mrs. Comegys (Delaware), Mrs. Eve (Georgia)

The Mount Vernon Ladies' Association

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3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway
Mount Vernon, Virginia 22121