George Washington writes this moving letter to his wife's brother-in-law, Burwell Bassett, lamenting the death of Martha's daughter, Martha "Patsy" Parke Custis. Only a day after Patsy's sudden and tragic death from a seizure, Washington describes the family's profound grief. "It is an easier matter to conceive, than to describe, the distress of this Family; especially that of the unhappy Parent of our Dear Patsy Custis, when I inform you that yesterday removd the sweet Innocent Girl into a more happy & peaceful abode than any she has met with in the afflicted Path she hitherto has trod."


ALS (Autograph Letter Signed) One sheet folded in half to create four pages. First two pages contain the letter's text. Small watermark, center of sheet. Similar to Gravell, Foreign Watermarks 721.

Autograph letter cover. Partial watermark, center bottom edge. Only bottom half of watermark is visible. Similar to Gravell, Foreign Watermarks 453.


June 20, 1773




Ink, laid paper, red wax seal


Overall (MS-5503/A closed): 9 in. x 7 1/4 in. (22.86 cm x 18.42 cm)
Other (MS-5503/A open): 9 in. x 14 1/2 in. (22.86 cm x 36.83 cm)
Other (MS-5503/B): 7 1/2 in. x 9 in. (19.05 cm x 22.86 cm)

Credit Line

Purchase, 1997


MS-5503/A: None

Recto, center, in brown ink: To / Burwell Bassett Esq / near / Williamsburg
Recto, top right, perpendicular to main text, postal stamp in red ink: PHILA
Recto, bottom right, perpendicular to main text, postal stamp in red ink: JUNE 20


MS-5503/A: Second page of text (left page when open), center right, in brown ink: Yr Obedt & Affecte Hble St / Go Washington

MS-5503/B: None

Object Number


Colors (Beta)

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