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Meet Martha Washington

Martha WashingtonAlthough she famously burned all but two of the letters from her husband George, Martha Custis Washington amassed a correspondence that is sizable, articulate, and—as it reached out to numerous people in Virginia and beyond—a fascinating window on colonial America and the post-Revolutionary republic. As the Washington Post reports, Martha's letters will now be added to the ongoing Papers of George Washington project. The University of Virginia Press will publish the letterpress editions, and the content will ultimately go into the digital edition of the Washington Papers, published by our electronic imprint, Rotunda.

The letters will reveal a shrewd and engaged woman who, owing to her husband's frequent absences, was often the true head of the complex operation that was Mount Vernon. Martha had one of the largest personal fortunes in Virginia, and her wealth played a crucial role in the estate's many activities. Martha's papers will be joined by those of other members of the Custis and Washington families, as well as George Washington's Barbados Diary, which covers his sole trip outside of America and which historians have long needed an accessible edition of. UVA Today has published an excellent overview of this exciting new addition to the Washington Papers.