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    Description

    Martha Washington Autograph Letter Signed "M. Washington", four pages, 7.25" x 9.25", Mount Vernon, February 25, 1788. Written to Frances (Franny) Basset Washington, wife of George Augustine Washington, George's favorite nephew. George Augustine was the son of President Washington's brother, Charles. A chatty, domestic letter on a variety of topics. In part: "I was very happy to hear by the Major that you arrived...without accident and that he left you very well with your friends...As you know that business is the cause of his leaving you. I trust that you will endeavor to reconcile yourself to his absence...If he does not attend to his affairs he will get nothing done & if his people does not make bread how will he be able to pay the taxes if nothing else was wanting...We have not a simple article of news but politicks which I do not concern myself about. I wish you could see the papers that come here every week as you are fond of reading them." The soon-to-be First Lady then describes a recent wedding, comments on the unusually cold weather and mutual friends, and reports on the health of the Washington household: "My dear little children have all been very sick, but today my pretty little Dear Boy complains of a pain in his stomach...A good nights sleep I think will carry off his complaints altogether. I cannot say but it makes me miserable if he ever complains let the cause be ever so trifling. I hope the Almighty will spare him to me. The General [Washington] did not get up to the river as he intended he got a bad cold and the dismal weakness together prevented, tho he did set out on Saturday with an intention to reach Mr. Fairfax's that night but some disappointment in finding the way caused him to turn back - and the Colo. seemed to bear his disappointment with tolerable patience...The fireside and Mt. Vernon and the shawl keep the weather outside. The General is very sick - as to myself I am dismal and rather sick as well..." Martha's dismissal of recent political news belies the importance of a message received just three days earlier; Massachusetts, a state critical to the fate of the Constitution, had just voted in favor of ratification. Handwritten material of Martha Washington remains one of the supreme rarities of Americana, and the references to her husband make this example particularly desirable. This letter is published in the 1994 book, Worthy Partner: The Papers of Martha Washington edited by Joseph E. Fields (pp. 205-206). In very good condition, the second leaf having small repaired fold separations (one affecting the first few letters of surname), areas of soiling and toning, writing lightly showing through from opposite sides, professional reinforcement to paper, and the last page of the letter is a bit lighter than the rest. This is the first Martha Washington letter we have ever handled; they are many times more rare than those of her illustrious husband!

    The writing in this letter, including the signature, has been professionally enhanced because of previously existing fading. This restoration is essentially undetectable to the casual observer, and the letter has a very natural display appearance.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2006
    12th-13th Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 5
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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