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  • Ask students to find a current day obituary and compare and contrast it with Martha Washington’s obituary form the early nineteenth century. Create a Venn diagram, and discuss the difference in language from the texts. What information is given in both documents? What information is included in one and not the other? Do they serve the same purpose today?
  • After reading Martha Washington’s obituary, ask students to write their own obituary for her. Instruct students to use the multimedia timeline of Martha’s life to identify information to include in their obituary. What events in her life can help define her role in the new nation?

Classroom Materials downloads are ZIP files that include, when available: document images (JPEGs), document transcripts (PDF as well as Word and/or Excel files), and ready to use classroom resources (activities, discussion prompts, lesson plans, etc.). These materials are available for educational uses only. If you would like to reproduce them in any other medium, please contact Dawn Bonner, Manager of Visual Resources.


Martha Washington passed away at Mount Vernon on May 22, 1802 at the age of 70 following an illness that lasted several weeks. At the time of her death she was surrounded by her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Newspapers around the country eulogized her as "the worthy partner of the worthiest of men." This obituary appeared in the Augusta Herald, published in Georgia, on June 9, 1802.