In observance of Women's History Month, Mount Vernon and the Washington Library welcome historians Catherine Allgor, Patricia Brady, and Woody Holton to the David M. Rubenstein Leadership Hall on Thursday, March 14, 2019. Moderated by Ann Compton, these scholars will discuss their research regarding pivotal First Ladies following Martha Washington's example in a program titled, In the Footsteps of Martha: The Wives of Early U.S. Presidents. A cocktail reception will follow.

This annual event was created to share new scholarship and insights into the life and times of Martha Washington and is made possible through a generous grant from the Richard S. Reynolds Foundation of Richmond, Virginia.


Date and Time




David M. Rubenstein Leadership Hall
Fred W. Smith National Library
3600 Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy.
Mount Vernon, VA 22121
Header Image: Martha Washington, by James Peale, watercolor on ivory, 1796. Bequest of Margaret B. Smith, to the memory of Henrietta Elizabeth Smith, Grandniece of Martha Washington, Daughter of Commodore John Dandridge Henley, and Wife of J. Bayard H. Smith, Esq., 1910 [W-624]. Courtesy of the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association.

In the Footsteps of Martha: The Wives of Early U.S. Presidents

Mrs. Madison Goes to Washington

Catherine Allgor is an historian and bestselling author who specializes in biographies of American First Ladies. Her books include Parlor Politics: In Which the Ladies of Washington Help Build a City and a Government (2000) and A Perfect Union: Dolley Madison and the Creation of the American Nation (2006).  She was recently named as president of the Massachusetts Historical Society.


Rachel Jackson: The First Lady Who Never Was

Patricia Brady is a social and cultural historian who served as director of publications at the Historic New Orleans Collection for twenty years. Her books include Martha Washington: An American Life (2005); George Washington’s Beautiful Nelly (1991); and A Being So Gentle: the Frontier Love Story of Andrew and Rachel Jackson (2011). She lives in New Orleans.



The Battle Against Patriarchy That Abigail Adams Won

Woody Holton is the McCausland Professor of History at the University of South Carolina where he teaches Early American history, especially the American Revolution, with a focus on economic history, African Americans, Native Americans, and women. A former professor at the University of Richmond, he is the author of Unruly Americans and the Origins of the Constitution (2007), and his book, Abigail Adams received the Bancroft Prize in 2010.




Ann Compton is a former news reporter and White House correspondent for ABC News. A distinguished and highly respected 40-year veteran of the White House press corps, she was the first woman assigned to cover the White House by a television network. Her tenure stretched across seven presidents as well as innumerable life-changing and globe-altering events, including the end of the Cold War. During the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 Ms. Compton was the only broadcaster allowed to remain on board Air Force One after President George W. Bush was advised not to return to Washington, D.C.

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