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Van Ann
Portfolio Contents: Van Ann as Martha Washington - America's first First Lady
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Aimee Semple McPherson
Baby Doe Tabor
Belle Boyd
Belle Starr
Carrie Tingley & Katherine O'Conner
Dolley Madison
Dona Tules
Jeanette MacDonald
Jenny Lind
Libby Custer
Lillian Russell
Lillie Langtree
Lydia Spencer Lane
Mamie Aguirre
Martha Washington
Molly Brown
Sarah Bernhardt
Susan Magoffin
West By Rail With The Harvey Girls
Westward Ho!
Photo by Adolphe Pierre-Louis
Martha Washington (1731 - 1802) grew up as Martha Dandridge on a plantation in Virginia, and was a young widow with two children when she met and married George Washington. Working together they took part in the founding of the greatest nation in history.

The exciting and often dangerous days of the American revolutionary war add background to the life story of this remarkable woman. Often working alonside her husband, she experienced with him hunger, bitter cold, and other great hardshiops. Lady Washington, as she was called, stayed at army headquarters for eight winters, doing everything she could to nurse and help the discouraged soldiers.

After the war was over, Martha Washington set her own traditions as wife of the first President of the United States. With generous hospitality, dignity and reserve she entertained at receptions and balls, establishing a model for the first ladies who followed her.

The only weakness in her character would be an excessive fear concerning her family when either absent or ill. But primarily one could say about this stable woman that "She looketh well to the ways of her household and eateth not the bread fo idleness ..." (Proverbs). And it would be her great stability, her abundant common sense and cheerfulness which would support and sustain her husband throughout a war and two terms as President of the United States.

Vignettes of Martha's family life at Mount Vernon with her children and grandchildren, her happy marriage, and her last years surrounded by friends and neighbors, especially at Mount Vernon, provide a perfect introduction to the life of America's first First Lady. Martha was a strong parallel to the great man she married; she was a gracious and sensible woman through whom we can see anew how the United States evolved and through her eyes we can experience the man she adored, and whom we call the "Father of our Country."