“A Testimony of Cherished Affection”: Establishing Legacy in the Early Republic

Eleanor Parke Custis Lewis to Elizabeth Bordley Gibson, 25 October 1823

"My dear & revered Friend Mrs Powel has sent me a beautiful silver Inkstand – but lovely as it is, the inscrip. Is the most charming part of it, ‘A testimony of cherished affection from E. Powel to her favorite Eleanor P. Lewis.’ Have I not cause to be proud of it?"

Elizabeth Willing Powel, an elite woman in Philadelphia,  was an avid gift giver to individuals both within her family and in her extended networks.  Her intentions for giving, and payments for the goods  trace throughout her correspondence and financial records. In looking at these materials, we can see an elite woman's power to establish her legacy within future generations in the Early Republic.