Front View of Thomas House

Ward-Thomas Museum

Ohio Association of Historical Societies and Museums

Five images of buildings and grounds

Ladies of the White House:
Martha Jefferson Randolph

Ward — Thomas Museum
Home of the Niles Historical Society
503 Brown Street Niles, Ohio 44446

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Martha Randolph

Martha Jefferson Randolph
President Thomas Jefferson
Portrayed by Anne Townley

Jefferson came to the White House a widower and it was not until he began his second term that his daughter, Martha Randolph, became the official hostess. She was well qualified, having accompanied her father during his diplomatic mission in France. But social entertainments were less formal, the traditional bowing was dispensed with to avoid similarity to a European court, and the handshake was introduced into custom. The seventh of her twelve children was the first baby born in the White House.

Tall, slim Martha is shown in a black wool shawl. This fashion first appeared in Europe in the nineteenth century and became the rage in America. The shawl measures about eight feet by four feet and has a wide paisley border. This is the only apparel that was located of Mrs. Randolph’s. Perhaps most of her gowns were destroyed in the Civil War.

View of Gown

View of Gown

View of Bodice

View of Bodice

View of Embroidery

View of Embroidery













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