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Read and analyze the source by completing the Analysis Routine below. When you have finished, select the BACK TO KITCHEN button to explore the other sources provided.


Lucy came to Mount Vernon as a child, when Martha married George Washington. Lucy was an enslaved cook. She learned how to be a cook from her mother, Doll. Every day as a cook at Mount Vernon was different. The day depended on the season and the number of guests. But, Lucy always got up at 4:00 a.m. to start the fire in the Kitchen and begin to prepare for the meals that would be served. Martha Washington would visit with her after breakfast to discuss the other meals for the day. Other enslaved people from around the estate would bring ingredients to the Kitchen that Lucy would preserve and store for later, or cook with. These ingredients included fruit from the garden and cream from the dairy.

Lucy’s husband, Frank Lee, was responsible for the service of the meals she prepared in the kitchen. Lucy and Frank had at least four children together, Edmund, Mike, Phill, and Patty. Documentary evidence suggests that the Lee family probably lived in the south wing of the Mansion cellar, where the Washingtons kept a second kitchen. In addition to cooking for the household, Lucy also raised chickens for her own family to eat or to sell. Although her day was often non-stop, she was instructed, if she did have a break, to spin and knit for the Washington family.

Complete the Analysis Routine

1. Identify the verbs that describe what Lucy did during each day. List the verbs that are related to what happened in the Kitchen. Remember that a verb is a word that expresses an action, an occurrence, or a state of being and is necessary to make a statement.

2. George and Martha Washington and their farm managers wrote down most of what we know about Lucy’s life. How might their records of her life be different than Lucy’s thoughts about her own life?

3. What is one thing in Lucy’s biography that surprised you?

4. Does reading Lucy’s biography change the way you think about slavery or other enslaved people you have learned about? Explain why or why not.