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Founding Influencer Elizabeth Willing Powel

2 Complicated 4 History

Isaac S. Loftus and Dr. Lynn Price Robbins are joined by Historian Samantha Snyder to talk about a very important woman in Philadelphia Society in the eighteenth century: Elizabeth Willing Powel. Powel wielded significant political influence during the presidency of George Washington and traveled amongst the elite social circles of the city. Despite her fascinating story and fame of the day, Powel is only now becoming the subject of a full-length biography written by Snyder.


 George Wiseacre Parke Custis

Your Most Obedient Humble Servant

In which rumors are dispelled, patriotic songs are sung, and girls draw on large mustaches with burnt cork. This podcast discusses a letter from Eleanor Parke Custis Lewis to her best friend, Elizabeth Bordley Gibson, on the subject of the Quasi-War, dispelling engagement rumors, and a host of other things.


"Oh Genie who Directs the Hands of Mortals!"

Your Most Obedient Humble Servant

In which Elizabeth Powel and her nephew bicker through letters over just how unreadable his handwriting is. She argues that "to your mother, it is algebra."
Come for the familial banter, stay for the discussion of 18th century epistolary education!

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Elizabeth Powel and the Founding of the Republic

Talking at the Library Company

Discussing Elizabeth Powel and her influence on the Founding of the Republic with Kayla Anthony, Executive Director of the Philadelphia Society for the Preservation of Landmarks.


A Presidential Blunder

Your Most Obedient & Humble Servant

In this week's letter George Washington forgets that he left all of his wife's correspondence in a desk that he sold to his close friend, Elizabeth Willing Powel. She immediately drags him for it, but is a good enough buddy to offer to hide his mistake from Martha.

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The Power Broker and the King Maker: The Life of Elizabeth Willing Powel 

Conversations at the Washington Library

This week's episode features Elizabeth Powel, a prominent Philadelphian who became close to the Washington family. Although her loyalties were unclear in the early years of the American War for Independence, she eventually embraced the Revolution. Powel was at the center of Philadelphia politics, but her influence reached beyond the city to the banks of the Potomac and places further afield. In an era in which women could not vote or hold elected office, Powel was a power broker and king maker in Early American society.

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