If the shoe fits…

February 2, 2009

marthawashingtonshoes1Glass slippers?  Cinderella.
Ruby red slippers?  Dorothy.
Purple wedding slippers?  Martha Washington.

Yes, Martha Washington.   According to some revisionist historians, the Mother of Our Country might not be the frump we’ve come to believe — especially if her choice of footwear is any indication.

Those shoes “were the Manolo Blahniks of her time,” according to historian Patricia Brady, who recently wrote a revisionist biography of Martha Washington.   Brady talks about revising Martha’s image in a Washington Post article by Brigid Schulte.

Over the years, Martha’s shoes lost their glittery buckles and the color faded from royal purple to lavender.  Even so, they’re still quite a fashion statement.

And the statement is that young Martha was no frump.  While Martha was dating George, she had another suitor, Charles Carter, who was wealthier than George.    Carter wrote to his brother about Martha’s beauty, revealing how he hoped to “arouse a flame in her breast.”   But George won her heart.  “He was a hunk, and I think she decided to make herself happy,” Brady says.

Martha was not only hot, but also a smart businesswoman, running five plantations and bargaining with London merchants after her first husband died.  And she was complex.  She read her Bible, but she also loved gothic romance novels.

I think I could be friends with this Martha Washington.

— CH



  1. OOohhh, this Martha sounds real and juicy. I like the way historians are taking a closer look at our founding fathers and mothers, and learning that they were 3-D people. That’s why I so enjoyed the John Adams mini series — it brought out the earthier side of these people, which makes them no less admirable and compelling.

  2. Martha sounds like someone I would have enjoyed getting to know.

  3. Love love your blog Cindy…

    Many Blessings,

  4. So much for stereotypes. Martha, you go girl :D.

  5. Who knew that being hip by wearing funky shoes did not originate with Carrie Bradshaw, but 200+ years ago with Martha Washington?!?!? How interesting.

  6. Thanks to all for your comments! (If clothes make the man, then maybe shoes make the woman!)

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