Eleanor Parke Custis Lewis (1779-1852), known as Nelly, was the granddaughter of Martha Washington and the step-granddaughter of George Washington. After her father’s death in 1781 the Washingtons raised her and her brother (G.W.P. Custis) as their own. Nelly’s letters provide some intimate glimpses into the household. The bulk of these letters were written to her childhood friend Elizabeth Bordley Gibson. Their content ranges from adolescent thoughts that she will always remain a “spinster”, through her announcement at her 17th birthday that henceforth she should be known as Eleanor, through her marriage, and then the birth and death of children and grandchildren. She freely expresses herself on social customs, politics, and family matters. And, finally, since most of Nelly's were written to Elizabeth Bordley Gibson, we have included here 4 letters to Elizabeth that were written in 1794-1795 by their mutual friend Susan Beverley Randolph.
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