What makes what I do unique from other "talent"? I feel that through conversation, true connections are made and learning is absorbed more readily. What I do best is "become" Martha, and give you a chance to time travel with her while I share stories, and we converse and visit.
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 (a woman who followed her husband into the army) 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.
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 both in person and online. Please visit the Resources 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.
I now spend most of my time interpreting Mrs. Washington. I have been portraying Martha - alone or with George (John Koopman, III) - in multiple states and venues for the past 8 years, including the National Park Service’s Washington’s Headquarters in Cambridge, MA, Clermont House in Germantown, NY, 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, Rhode Island, and New York.
When I am not researching Martha, Mount Vernon, and the world view of an 18th century woman, I am a nonprofit administrator and live south of Boston with my husband and three children.
In the Upper Garden at Mount Vernon, 2007.