From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article
Ann Pamela Cunningham (August 15, 1816 Rosemont Plantation, South Carolina - May 1, 1875) is credited with saving George Washington's beloved home Mount Vernon from ruin and neglect. In a letter to Ann Pamela, Cunningham's mother described the crumbling condition of the estate as she saw it in 1853 while on a steamship heading down the Potomac River. Cunningham was in her 30s and, having been crippled in a riding accident as a teenager, decided she would initiate a campaign to save the estate. She raised funds to purchase Mount Vernon by launching an unprecedented appeal for donations through newspaper articles directed toward "the Ladies of the South" and founded The Mount Vernon Ladies' Association of the Union, the group that still owns and manages Washington's estate, and served as its first regent. The Mount Vernon Ladies' Association is the oldest private preservation organization in the United States.