Mary Randolph

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Grave of Mary Randolph at Arlington National Cemetery.
Mary (Randolph) Randolph
Born Mary Randolph
(1762-08-09)August 9, 1762
"Ampthill Plantation" near Richmond, Virginia
Died January 23, 1828(1828-01-23) (aged 65)
Washington, D. C.
Occupation Writer
Spouse(s) David Meade Randolph
Children Richard, William Beverly,
David Meade, Burwell Starke
Parent(s) Thomas Mann Randolph
Anne (Cary) Randolph

Mary Randolph (1762-1828) was an American author, known for writing The Virginia House-Wife (1824), one of the most influential housekeeping and cook books of the nineteenth century.


Randolph was born at Ampthill[1] on August 9, 1762, the daughter of Thomas Mann Randolph (1741–1794), a member of the Virginia Convention of 1776 and descendant of Pocahontas and John Rolfe, and his first wife, Anne Cary Randolph (1745-1789). The eldest of thirteen, her siblings included Thomas Mann Randolph, Jr. (1768–1828) son-in-law of Thomas Jefferson and Governor of Virginia, and the writer Virginia Randolph Cary (1786-1852).[2]

In December 1780 she married a cousin, David Meade Randolph (1760 - 1830) and they would have eight children, four survived into adulthood. Initially they lived at "Presqu'Ile," his plantation in Chesterfield County, Virginia, but built "Moldavia," a mansion in Richmond, Virginia in 1798. Due to their financial situation, the Randolphs were forced to sell their home in 1804 and by 1808 were operating a boarding house in Richmond.[3]

In 1819 they moved to Washington, D. C. where she wrote the book, first published in 1824, and would die on January 23, 1828. She was buried by Arlington House, home of her cousin Mary Lee Fitzhugh Custis, wife of George Washington's adopted son George Washington Parke Custis at what became Arlington National Cemetery.[4]

The Virginia House-Wife[edit]

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.[5]

In 2009 Randolph was posthumously honored as one of the Library of Virginia's "Virginia Women in History".[6]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]