by Dr. Nancy Loane

The Surprising Martha Washington

Although she’s commonly thought of as rather frumpy, and as a lady who spent countless hours visiting the soldiers and knitting stockings  for the men, the truth about Lady Washington is far more interesting.  Martha Washington was a spiffy dresser, assertive, and definitely a woman of independent means. The varied activities of this “worthy partner” at the encampments during the Revolutionary War and throughout the presidential years may surprise you, too. 

Present But Not Accounted For: Women at the 1777-1778 Valley Forge Encampment

Over 400 women camped at Valley Forge during the winter of 1777-78. This presentation will introduce you to the women who traveled with the Continental Army, those with Washington’s military family, and the wives of the officers, such as Martha Washington, Lucy Knox, and Catharine Greene. Through the women at camp, you discover a Valley Forge encampment that you never knew existed.

Love Letters from Valley Forge

The officers at the Valley Forge encampment of 1777-78 were determined, courageous soldiers. Many of them were also lonesome, as beloved wives and cherished families had been left behind. Through the letters written from the officers to their wives at home, you’ll get to know these diverse officers and their wives, discover something of marriage in the 18th century, and develop a new perspective about life at the encampment. 

Beneath the Snow: Myths and Oddities of the Valley Forge Encampment

Dig down deep beneath the snow of the 1777-78 encampment and discover the real Valley Forge. Through the letters, journals, documents, and diaries of the time you’ll discover —among other things—what the weather was really like that winter, learn about the clothing and food situation at camp, and meet another indispensable officer at camp. You’ll also learn what was on the menu for Washington’s Christmas dinner, and get acquainted with a very important camp dog

Wives, Widows and Warriors – Women during the American Revolution

Although rarely on the battlefield, women supported the effort in other ways. Women took up their quill pens, began spinning and weaving with gusto, and boycotted tea. With husbands off to war, they maintained the family farm and cared for the children. Other women followed their husbands to battle, often serving as “Molly Pitchers” or nurses for the troops. Still others dressed in army uniforms and took to the field—or tried to—or spied for the enemy. 
The account of women’s undervalued, but vital, contribution to our freedom is both fascinating and important. It’s HERstory at its best. 

click here to email the author at womenatvalleyforge@comcast.net
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