About the Book
George Washington lived in an age of revolutions, during which he faced political upheaval, war, economic change, and social shifts. These revolutions affected American women in profound ways, and the women Washington knew—personally, professionally, and politically—lived lives that reveal these multifaceted transformations. Although Washington often operated in male-dominated arenas, he participated in complex and meaningful relationships with women from across society.
A lively and accessibly written volume, Women in George Washington’s World highlights some of the women—Black and white, free and enslaved—whom Washington knew. Women who admired and memorialized him, women who provided him love and solace, women who frustrated him, and women who worked for or against him—all of these women are chronicled through their own experiences and identities. The essays, written by established and emerging historians of gender, reveal the lives of a diverse group of women, including plantation mistresses and enslaved workers, Loyalists and Patriots, poets and socialites, as well as mothers, wives, and sisters. Collectively, women emerge as strong actors during the American Revolution and its aftermath, not merely passive spectators or occasional participants. Although usually not on battlefields or in government offices, women made choices and acted in ways that affected their own, their families’, and sometimes even the nation’s future.
About the Participants
George W. Boudreau
George W. Boudreau is Senior Research Associate at the McNeil Center for Early American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a cultural historian of eighteenth-century Anglo-America, specializing in the history of Philadelphia, the work of Benjamin Franklin, and public history. Boudreau was the founding editor of the Journal Early American Studies. He has published extensively, and his book Independence: A Guide to Historic Philadelphia explores the sites related to the nation’s founding and the diverse people lived within them.
Charlene M. Boyer Lewis
Charlene M. Boyer Lewis is Professor of History and Director of American Studies at Kalamazoo College. She specializes in women’s history and American cultural and social history of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. She is the author of Ladies and Gentlemen on Display: Planter Society at the Virginia Springs, 1790-1860 and, most recently, Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte: An American Aristocrat in the Early Republic. Her next project is an examination of Margaret Shippen Arnold, the wife of Benedict Arnold, and American culture in the revolutionary era.
Cynthia A. Kierner
Cynthia A. Kierner is Professor of History at George Mason University and author of many books, including Scandal at Bizarre: Rumor and Reputation in Jefferson’s America and Martha Jefferson Randolph, Daughter of Monticello: Her Life and Times. Her current projects include two biographies: one of an outspoken Whig woman in revolutionary North Carolina and the other of Joan Whitney Payson, a philanthropist and founding owner of the New York Mets.
Lynn Price Robbins
Lynn Price Robbins regularly serves as a scholar for the George Washington Teacher Institute at Mount Vernon, lecturing on Martha Washington, women of the late-eighteenth century, and politics. She has also worked with George Washington’s Mount Vernon on Washington’s financial ledgers, agricultural reports, and the Bibliography Project. Robbins coedited two documentary volumes, George Washington’s Barbados Diary, 1751-52 and The Papers of Martha Washington, while serving as Associate Editor of the Washington Family Papers at the University of Virginia.
Samantha Snyder is the Research Librarian at George Washington’s Mount Vernon. Her specializations include women’s history and genteel societies of the early republic. Her current project is a biography of Elizabeth Willing Powel, an influential Philadelphian who was invaluable in the founding of the United States.