Mary Randolph

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Grave of Mary Randolph at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington County, Virginia, in the United States.

Mary Randolph (9 August 1762 – 23 January 1828) was an American author. She is known for writing The Virginia House-Wife (1824), one of the most influential housekeeping and cook books of the nineteenth century. She was the first recorded person to be buried at what became Arlington National Cemetery,[1] and was a cousin of Mary Lee Fitzhugh Custis, wife to George Washington Parke Custis, Arlington's builder.

Mary's paternal ancestors included Pocahontas, the youngest daughter of Chief Powhatan and her English-born husband, John Rolfe. Randolph was the daughter of Thomas Mann Randolph (1741–1794), a member of the Virginia Convention of 1776, and his first wife, Anne Cary Randolph. Her twelve siblings included Thomas Mann Randolph, Jr. (1768–1828), son-in-law of Thomas Jefferson, who served in the House of Representatives from 1803 until 1807 and as governor of Virginia from 1819 through 1822; and Virginia Randolph Cary (1786-1852), who wrote Letters on Female Character, Addressed to a Young Lady, on the Death of Her Mother (1828).

Mary Randolph married her cousin, David Meade Randolph, of Chesterfield County, Virginia, in December 1780. Moldavia, their Richmond City home, became a center of Federalist Party social activity.

Randolph's influential housekeeping book The Virginia House-Wife (1824) went through many editions until the 1860s. Randolph tried to improve women's lives by limiting the time they had to spend in their kitchens. The Virginia House-Wife included many inexpensive ingredients that anyone could purchase to make impressive meals. Besides popularizing the use of more than 40 vegetables, Randolph's book also introduced to the southern public dishes from abroad, such as gazpacho.

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