First First Lady Was No Frump

Forget the unflattering paintings; Martha Washington was quite the fox
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 2, 2009 9:27 AM CST
Martha Washington, (1732 - 1802), nee Martha Dandridge Custis, the wife of George Washington, the first President of the United States of America.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Chances are when you think of Martha Washington, you imagine a frumpy old fat lady smothered in lace. Not so, say those who study her and her husband. If you ignore the unflattering images painted years after her death, and instead focus on tailors' records and letters from Martha's youth, another picture emerges, reports the Washington Post.

The tiny, sequined, purple silk shoes Martha wore on her (second) wedding day apparently point to a sassy sense of style, and orders for dresses mention her delicate wrists and slim waist. But it's a forensic age regression on one of her portraits that gives the definitive answer to the question of why George so persistently pursued the young widow.