Martha Washington sent this warmhearted letter from Philadelphia to her niece Frances "Fanny" Bassett Washington at Mount Vernon. It provides intimate glimpses of family life and the domestic concerns of Mrs. Washington as she inquires if Fanny is pregnant, asks about Fanny's brothers, and requests news of a recent marriage. Mrs. Washington also writes that her slave, Austin, carries this letter to Mount Vernon so he can visit with his wife and friends. George and Martha sent their slaves home for short visits because Pennsylvania law allowed slaves to sue for freedom after six months of residency.


ALS (Autograph Letter Signed). One page with text on recto and verso. Martha Washington sent this letter from Philadelphia on April 19, 1791, with her slave, Austin, to her niece Frances "Fanny" Bassett at Mount Vernon. Martha inquires if Fanny is pregnant, asks about Fanny's brothers, and says that she will return to Mount Vernon at the beginning of August. Partial watermark, center left edge. Only top half of watermark is visible. The letters are similar to the top half of Gravell, AMERICAN WATERMARKS 308.


April 19, 1791




Ink, laid paper


Overall: 9 1/8 in. x 7 3/4 in. (23.18 cm x 19.69 cm)

Credit Line

Purchase, 1979


Verso, above center, in brown ink: adue my dear Fanny & believe / me your most affectionate / M Washington

Object Number


Colors (Beta)

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