MV Mailbox: Greetings from 1955
Summer at Mount Vernon means lots of vacationing tourists! Presumably on their own summer vacation, Mary and Henry sent this postcard on June 27, 1955 to their parents, Mr. and Mrs. G.J. Divens of Vinton, VA. “Hello folks, Having a good time wish you all was with us. Love, Mary and Henry.” The most striking detail about the front of the postcard, besides the 1950s-era wallpaper and drapes, is George Washington’s original bedstead. Still in the Mansion today, the bed was custom made in Philadelphia at the request of Martha Washington in order to fit the dimensions of her husband. The frame is six feet six inches in length and six feet in width, perfect for the six-foot-three general. It was in this bed that George Washington died of a throat infection in 1799. After his death, Martha Washington closed this room and used small bedroom on the third floor until her death in 1802.
Although the wall colors have been muted significantly and the drapes have been removed since 1955, George Washington’s bedstead remains the most striking feature of the master bedroom. With great confidence, though perhaps trite, we can say that “George Washington slept here.”
The postcards featured in the MV Mailbox series and hundreds others are part of Mount Vernon’s postcard collection. They range vastly in age and subject matter, but have one underlying commonality: George Washington’s Estate.
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