March 8 is International Women’s Day and 2020 marks the suffrage centennial. So I dedicate this photograph to the memory of Theodosia Ford. Here’s why.
If you were to ask the average person to name famous people from the American Revolutionary War, you will probably hear George Washington and the other Founding Fathers mentioned.
But naming a woman? Perhaps Betsy Ross will come up for making the first American flag, which is a story that many scholars reject as historically unsupported.
A quick online search yielded less than a dozen names of women who figured prominently during the Revolution. But none mentioned Theodosia Ford.
What is not readily known is that Theodosia twice offered up her house to Washington and his large entourage of officers. Having one’s home turned upside down by soldiers is challenging enough. But Theodosia was also still grieving the recent deaths of her husband Jacob, her father-in-law, and her infant daughter – and all while still caring for her four remaining children.
There is more to her contributions and sacrifices that space does not allow me to get into here. But I had an opportunity to explore this little-known region of history more deeply through a solo exhibition – The Diary of Theodosia Ford – at Women’s Rights National Historical Park in 2018.
The photograph above was part of that exhibition. The scene is from a corner of the master bedroom that George and Martha Washington used while Theodosia and her children slept in the dining room and sitting room. The image features a Windsor chair and a Chippendale-style table, which is an original Ford family piece.
The photograph was also published in a new booklet featuring my photography of the Ford Mansion that is available for sale at Morristown National Historical Park.
Click here to get a signed print of this and other photographs.
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