Living across the street from Valley Forge Park in the first grade (during the Bicentennial year, no less) had a lasting impression on me, where my father brought me to see my first Revolutionary War reenactment. I caught the history bug, and have been a Revolutionary War reenactor since 1999.
Beginning as a camp follower with the Tenth Massachusetts Regiment, I soon expanded my interpretation to portray Tipsy Ne’erdowell who always found herself in predicaments like going into labor while travelling in an unfamiliar town (which helps the public understand the customs and laws of the time). I have now found myself in my favorite role, Martha Washington, the wife of our country’s first president.
I now spend most of my time interpreting Mrs. Washington. I have been portraying Martha - with George (John Koopman, III) - in multiple states and venues for the past 6 years, including the National Park Service’s Washington’s Headquarters in Cambridge, MA, Clermont House in Germantown, NY each 4th of July, and Washington’s Birthday weekend at Washington’s Headquarters, in Newburgh, NY each February. As well, I have worked with classrooms, libraries, historical societies, and various associations virtually throughout the United States, and delivered in person talks and performances throughout Massachusetts and New York.
Wanting to bring the past to life for visitors led me to be active in The Ladies of Refined Taste, a first person living history education group, and the Hive, which provided invaluable workshops and lectures that presented ongoing research. Because the quest to know as much as possible is never ending, my research is always ongoing in relation to the Washingtons via attending symposiums, continuous reading, experimenting with material culture, and utilizing the depth of the many resources available online. Please visit the References Section of the website for a list of books and websites that will take you down the rabbit hole of the Washingtons, and the 18th century in general. In addition, I am an active member of Solo Together, a group of solo performers from New England who join together to share ideas, network, and learn from one another.
What makes what I do unique from other "talent"? I feel that through conversation, true connections are made and learning is absorbed more readily. Performances are wonderful. I so enjoy attending them myself, but what I do best is converse and visit.
Mirroring Martha’s daily activities in managing Mount Vernon and Martha’s care for the health and wellness of others, when not in the 18th century, I am a nonprofit administrator, and a resource for health and safety in people’s personal care products. I live south of Boston with my husband and three children.
In the Upper Garden at Mount Vernon, 2007.