Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Was Martha Washington Hot?

There are historians who are now making the argument that the mother of our country was very attractive in her youth. This contrasts to the portraits of her as a much older woman as First Lady. Details can be found in the article Fresh Look at Martha Washington: Less First Frump, More Foxy Lady from the Washington Post. The article is written by Brigid Schulte.

Was Martha Washington hot? It is hard to tell. Here is some text from the article:

Contrary to popular opinion, even among some historians who should know better, Martha was not fat when she married George. Yes, she liked to read the Bible, but she devoured gothic romance novels, too. She capably ran the five plantations left to her when her first husband died, bargaining with London merchants for the best tobacco prices. And unknown to most, while George was courting her she had another suitor, a Virginia planter with much greater wealth and stature. In a little-known letter, Charles Carter wrote to his brother about what a beauty she was and how he hoped to "arouse a flame in her breast."

"He was clearly sexually excited by her," said Patricia Brady, a historian who wrote the first revisionist biography of Martha a few years ago. "When Martha decided to marry George, she didn't marry him just to be a kind stepfather to her two children. He was a hunk, and I think she decided to make herself happy. People are just starting to see her as a real person."

If George Washington was smart enough to beat the British and become the first president, I think he was smart enough to find an attractive wife. However, I would like to see the computerized age-regression portrait of her in her mid-20s that are being planned before I make up my mind.

1 comment:

Jennie W said...

Glad to see Martha getting her due! I hope they are also taking into account changing characteristics of beauty. Each generation has a different definition of what makes beauty based on the standards of the time.