Since the 18th century, women have played an important role at Mount Vernon.

Martha Washington helped manage and run the estate. The work of enslaved women was critical to the success of the plantation. In the 19th century a group of women, the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, saved the estate from ruin. The organization still owns and operates the Washingtons’ home today.

Martha Washington

Martha Washington

Martha Washington was the first first lady of the United States and spent about half of the Revolutionary War at the front with General Washington. She helped manage and run her husbands' estates and raised her children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews.

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Enslaved Labor

Enslaved Labor

George and Martha Washington's lives depended on the labor of Mount Vernon's enslaved community. They relied on many women trained in specific jobs including cooks, housemaids, textile workers, and dairy maids. The plantation would not have functioned without the agricultural workers, the majority of whom were women.

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Mount Vernon Ladies' Association

Mount Vernon Ladies' Association

The Mount Vernon Ladies' Association was the first national historic preservation organization and is the oldest women's patriotic society in the United States. Its pioneering efforts in the field of preservation set an important precedent and have served as a model for many.

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Doll

Doll

Doll worked as an enslaved cook. She was the matriarch of one of the largest extended families within Mount Vernon’s enslaved community.

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Mary Ball Washington

Despite her many mythologies, George Washington's mother was a strong, complex, and anxious woman. She was a fervent reader of devotional books, frugal to a fault, and on occasion, so cash poor as to be unable to feed herself and her dependents.

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Women of Mount Vernon

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The Life of Martha Washington

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4:24

The Life of Doll: Women of Mount Vernon

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4:27

The Life of Penny: An Enslaved Girl

6,098 views 1 year ago
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6:50

Mary Ball Washington: Who Raised George Washington?

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5:39

George Washington's Escaped Slave: Ona Judge

535,072 views 2 years ago

Priscilla and Penny

Priscilla and her daughter Penny lived and worked at Dogue Run Farm.

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MVLA and Women's Suffrage

As a non-partisan organization, the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association never took an official stance on women’s suffrage. Outside their roles in the MVLA, some Vice Regents expressed strong opinions.

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Caroline Branham


Character Interpreter Brenda Parker remembers the life of Caroline Branham: mother of eight, wife of Peter Hardiman, and enslaved housemaid at Mount Vernon.

Kate

In the 1790s, Kate wanted to serve as a midwife for the enslaved community. Her bold request hints at the social dynamics governing relationships both within the enslaved population and between master and slave.

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Kitty

Kitty worked as an enslaved milkmaid and spinner at Mansion House Farm.

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