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The Washington Collection at Tudor Place

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The Washington Collection is comprised of manuscripts and more than two hundred objects, making Tudor Place one of the largest public repositories of items owned by Martha and George Washington. Of particular note is a letter written from Philadelphia on June 18, 1775, by George Washington to Martha Washington at Mount Vernon upon his assuming command of the Continental Army. This significant letter is one of three existing letters sent by George Washington to his wife; all other personal correspondence was burned by Martha Washington.

Among the Washington Collection manuscripts held in the Tudor Place Archive are four condolence letters written to Martha Washington after the death of George Washington. These include letters from John Adams; replies to condolence letters from Martha Washington in the hand of Tobias Lear, Washington’s secretary; twenty-seven documents relating to the settlement of Martha Washington’s estate, including bills and receipts; and correspondence between George Washington and Thomas Peter.

Purchase Tudor Place: America's Story Lives Here

The objects in the Washington Collection were used by George and Martha Washington throughout the eighteenth century at their various residences, including the president’s residences in New York, Philadelphia, and the couple’s beloved Mount Vernon. Martha Parke Custis Peter, the second oldest granddaughter of Martha Washington, acquired personal accessories, furnishings, and memorabilia directly from her grandmother and step-grandfather. The majority of objects in the collection were purchased by Martha and Thomas Peter at the July 20, 1802, estate sale following Martha Washington’s death on May 22. The Peters spent more than $750 at the sale—a significant sum considering the average daily wage was $1 a day in early Washington, D.C. The large collection remained intact at Tudor Place until their daughter Britannia Wellington Peter Kennon’s death in 1911, when it was divided among her five grandchildren. Today the Washington Collection includes objects from this division that became the property of the third owner of Tudor Place, Armistead Peter, Jr.; objects inherited and later donated by his siblings and their heirs; and objects that came into the collection through marriage.

All manuscripts and objects are from the bequest of Armistead Peter, 3rd, unless otherwise noted.