Letter from Elizabeth “Eliza” Harriot Barons O’Connor to George Washington (October 7, 1788)


In this letter written by Elizabeth “Eliza” Harriot Barons O’Connor to George Washington on October 7, 1788, she asks if she can visit him to get his advice on starting a girls’ school in North Carolina. In June 1788, she had opened Mrs. O’Connor’s Female Academy in Alexandria, and her educational philosophy was similar to Washington’s, who was a trustee of the male Alexandria Academy. In response to this letter, Washington invited O’Connor to his home, and she visited Mount Vernon from October 19 to October 22, 1788.


Alexandria Octbr 7th 1788


However flattering the encouragement I may yet receive in this Town and the honor I should feel to exert my efforts in this humble line under your Excellency’s patronage and Notice, yet I am obliged to join my Husband at Edenton North Carolina where he intends to publish his History of this Country from an Office over which he is appointed to preside, as well as to superintend a young Seminary of Education.

As I am resolved in every situation to unite my best endeavours for our common benefit, I mean there to resume my present office, and I humbly flatter myself your Excellency may think me in some degree qualified; however it is not presuming on any merit of mine but your Excellency’s goodness that I take the liberty to request a line of Introduction from you to Governor Johnston who lives at Edenton and has [?] Children— If I have the happiness to meet your condescension and kind opinion, I can only assure you of my Gratitude and best endeavours to act worthy of him who has yet appeared the patron of Science.

If your Excellency, and Mrs Washington will permit, [(]and I can procure a Carriage) to wait upon you and receive your advice, I shall chearfully embrace the opportunity of having the honor of seeing her, which I most earnestly wish before I leave Alexandria.

I hope you will pardon me for this intrusion on your time, and if I may be allow’d the liberty of waiting upon you, and receiving your approbation respecting my intended Journey it will be confirming an obligation upon her who has ever esteemed herself Your Excellency’s Most Obedient & most humb. Sevt

Eliza Harriot O’Connor

APA Citation:
O’Connor, Elizabeth Harriot Barons. Letter from Elizabeth “Eliza” Harriot Barons O’Connor to George Washington (October 7, 1788). (2023, July 25). In Encyclopedia Virginia.
MLA Citation:
O’Connor, Elizabeth Harriot Barons. "Letter from Elizabeth “Eliza” Harriot Barons O’Connor to George Washington (October 7, 1788)" Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Humanities, (25 Jul. 2023). Web. 20 Jun. 2024
Last updated: 2023, July 25
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