Ann Pamela Cunningham

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Ann Pamela Cunningham (August 15, 1816 Rosemont Plantation, South Carolina - May 1, 1875) is credited with saving George Washington's beloved home Mount Vernon from ruin and neglect. In a letter to Ann Pamela, Cunningham's mother described the crumbling condition of the estate as she saw it in 1853 while on a steamship heading down the Potomac River. Cunningham was in her 30s and, having been crippled in a riding accident as a teenager, decided she would initiate a campaign to save the estate. She raised funds to purchase Mount Vernon by launching an unprecedented appeal for donations through newspaper articles directed toward "the Ladies of the South" and founded The Mount Vernon Ladies' Association of the Union,[1] the group that still owns and manages Washington's estate, and served as its first regent. The group purchased Mount Vernon for $200,000[2] The Mount Vernon Ladies' Association is the oldest private preservation organization in the United States.


  1. ^ "About Mount Vernon". George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate, Museum & Gardens. 
  2. ^ "Ann Pamela Cunningham". 
  • Abbatt, William, ed. “Ann Pamela Cunningham, ‘The Southern Matron.’” The Magazine of History with Notes and Queries, Volume V. January –June (1907): 336–343.
  • Horstman, N. W. “The Mount Vernon Ladies' Association of the Union.” The Magazine Antiques. 135 (1989): 454–61.
  • Howe, Barbara J. “Women in Historic Preservation: the Legacy of Ann Pamela Cunningham.” The Public Historian. 12.1 (1990): 31–61.
  • Page, Thomas Nelson. Mount Vernon and its Preservation, 1858–1910. New York: Knickerbocker Press, 1910.

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