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With the generous support of the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, Mount Vernon and the Fairfax Network have partnered to provide schools with engaging and FREE distance learning broadcasts.

Mount Vernon Estate

George Washington’s
Mount Vernon Estate,
Museum & Gardens

suggested RESOURCES

The First Ladies | The White House
Official biographies of the First Ladies of the United States

First Ladies
Biographical profiles of the First Ladies of the United States at the National Women’s History Museum

Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation Reading Guide
Reading Guide that complements Cokie Roberts’ book

"Lady Washington:" Inventing the First Lady's Role
A lesson plan from The National First Ladies' Library

FRee dvd

Free DVDs are provided by a generous partnership with George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate, Museum & Gardens and are in limited supply.

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Video Gallery

Watch video clips from previous programs.


"Founding Mothers: Remembering the Ladies

March 6, 2013 · Grades 9-12 · 60 minutes

Video on Demand • Fairfax Network YouTube Channel

"Remember the ladies, and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors."—Abigail Adams to John Adams: March 31, 1776

Cokie Roberts hosts this fascinating discussion of the struggles to establish a nation as seen through the eyes of our nation's first First Ladies: Martha Washington, Abigail Adams, and Dolley Madison. Share their behind-the-scenes insights into the challenges faced by their husbands, as well as learn about the often overlooked contributions of these essential founding mothers.

Cokie Roberts is a political commentator for ABC News. In addition to her appearances on the airwaves, Cokie Roberts has written several best sellers including Founding Mothers, published in 2004 and Ladies of Liberty in 2008. As Martha Washington, living biographer Mary Wiseman brings 30 years of interpretive experience to highlight the life of George Washington's worthy partner. In 1997, historical interpreter Kim Hanley was inspired to research and develop her portrayal of Abigail Adams. Since 1999, professional actor and teacher Cynthia Janzen has portrayed Dolley Madison at schools, museums, and historical societies. 

This program was recorded at Mount Vernon's 2012 Evening With Educators. View photos from the December 5 taping.


The First Ladies talk with Cokie Roberts about living in Washington.

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Virginia History and Social Science Standards of Learning

The student will demonstrate skills for historical and geographical analysis and responsible citizenship, including the ability to a) identify, analyze, and interpret primary and secondary source documents, records, and data, including artifacts, diaries, letters, photographs, journals, newspapers, historical accounts, and art, to increase understanding of events and life in the United States; b) evaluate the authenticity, authority, and credibility of sources

National Social Studies And History Standards

Era 3: Standard 2C
The student understands the Revolution's effects on different social groups: analyze the ideas put forth arguing for new women’s roles and rights and explain the customs of the 18th century that limited women’s aspirations and achievements

Historical Thinking Standards

Standard 2
The student comprehends a variety of historical sources: Appreciate historical perspectives--the ability (a) describing the past on its own terms, through the eyes and experiences of those who were there, as revealed through their literature, diaries, letters, debates, arts, artifacts, and the like; (b) considering the historical context in which the event unfolded--the values, outlook, options, and contingencies of that time and place; and (c) avoiding "present-mindedness," judging the past solely in terms of present-day norms and values.