The Recipients

Bushrod Washington, 1783

Bushrod Washington sat for this portrait during his time in Philadelphia in 1783. The Powels assisted Bushrod in choosing the artist, deciding between Charles Willson Peale and Henry Benbridge.

The Washington Family

After the Washington family sat for portraits for Edward Savage in New York City in 1789, Savage used their portraits to create this group scene. This scene was one of the most popular prints to display in households throughout the nineteenth century.

Eighteenth Century:

The receivers in the eighteenth century the Washington family and the Custis grandchildren. These gifts were all purchased prior to her husband's death, but given on her behalf. This shows the early power Elizabeth had in her social connections, that she could be a sole giver even if the payment came from her husband. She had a hand in offering advice and establishing the presence of America's first family.

Dorothy Willing Francis, 1800-1810

This is a portrait of Dorothy Willing Francis, one of Elizabeth's many nieces. She received a set of the asparagus tongs in 1816, and her daughter Elizabeth Francis received one of the thimbles.

Edward Shippen Burd, 1806-1808

Edward Shippen Burd was a close family member to Elizabeth Powel. He served as an executor to her will, as well as one of her attorneys during her lifetime. He was a frequent receiver of her gifts.

Nineteenth Century:

The receivers in the nineteenth century were her nieces and nephews (and their children), and then the children of her family friends. At this point, these young men and women were celebrating marriages, childbirth, new homes, and establishing lives in the growing city of Philadelphia. She gave industrial themed goods to the younger children, which helped them develop skills at a young age, and be valuable to society. She paid for these goods herself, using money earned from various business ventures that she inherited after the death of her husband.