Martha Washington, as the first First Lady, had a precedent to set. Accustomed to the spotlight, she spared little time in adjusting to the rented presidential home on Cherry Street in New York, the young nation’s capital. Within her first week, she held her first “drawing room” for men and women. Eager to protect the presidential couple from claims that they were elitist, she crafted a democratic image for herself and her husband. “Custom dictated that a gracious lady, no matter what her husband’s title, returned the calls of all women who had come to her door and left their calling cards, so Martha resolved to return each visit, and to accomplish this within three days of the original call.”
Quotes and facts from First Ladies: From Martha Washington to Michelle Obama by Betty Boyd Caroli. C-SPAN will be exploring the influence of First Ladies in its new series premiering Monday, February 25th.  
Image: Martha Washington at Mount Vernon, printed by Jacob Rau c. 1868. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress.  

Martha Washington, as the first First Lady, had a precedent to set. Accustomed to the spotlight, she spared little time in adjusting to the rented presidential home on Cherry Street in New York, the young nation’s capital. Within her first week, she held her first “drawing room” for men and women. Eager to protect the presidential couple from claims that they were elitist, she crafted a democratic image for herself and her husband. “Custom dictated that a gracious lady, no matter what her husband’s title, returned the calls of all women who had come to her door and left their calling cards, so Martha resolved to return each visit, and to accomplish this within three days of the original call.”

Quotes and facts from First Ladies: From Martha Washington to Michelle Obama by Betty Boyd Caroli. C-SPAN will be exploring the influence of First Ladies in its new series premiering Monday, February 25th.  

Image: Martha Washington at Mount Vernon, printed by Jacob Rau c. 1868. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress.