Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia

Ladies Association of Philadelphia

Esther De Bertdt Reed

Born and raised in England, Esther De Bertdt Reed sailed for Philadelphia in the fall of 1770 and became an ardent American patriot after living in the colonies for only two years. In the fall of 1779, her husband Joseph Reed became governor of Pennsylvania. As a wealthy lady of status in Philadelphia, Reed sought to use her rank for good and on June 12, 1780, filled with republican fervor, penned “Sentiments of an American Woman.” Reed hoped the broadside would rouse her fellow women to participate in the Revolutionary cause. With a small army of her own, Reed led the charge in a door-to-door fundraising campaign. Originally, the women planned to distribute all funds raised directly to the troops, for the soldiers to do with as they sought fit. However, after a conversation with General George Washington, Reed was persuaded to instead to use the funds to provide clothing for the soldiers. Quite suddenly, Reed died on September 18, 1780, at the young age of 34. The daughter of Benjamin Franklin Sarah Franklin Bache took over Reed’s position at the Ladies Association and saw the completion of more than 2,200 shirts for the troops. (The Library Company of Philadelphia)

Born and raised in England, Esther De Bertdt Reed sailed for Philadelphia in the fall of 1770 and became an ardent American patriot after living in the colonies for only two years. In the fall of 1779, her husband Joseph Reed became governor of Pennsylvania. As a wealthy lady of status in Philadelphia, Reed sought to use her rank for good and on June 12, 1780, filled with republican fervor, penned “Sentiments of an American Woman.” Reed hoped the broadside would rouse her fellow women to participate in the Revolutionary cause. With a small army of her own, Reed led the charge in a door-to-door fundraising campaign. Originally, the women planned to distribute all funds raised directly to the troops, for the soldiers to do with as they sought fit. However, after a conversation with General George Washington, Reed was persuaded to instead to use the funds to provide clothing for the soldiers. Quite suddenly, Reed died on September 18, 1780, at the young age of 34. The daughter of Benjamin Franklin Sarah Franklin Bache took over Reed’s position at the Ladies Association and saw the completion of more than 2,200 shirts for the troops. (The Library Company of Philadelphia)

Library Company of Philadelphia

Born and raised in England, Esther De Bertdt Reed sailed for Philadelphia in the fall of 1770 and became an ardent American patriot after living in the colonies for only two years. In the fall of 1779, her husband Joseph Reed became governor of Pennsylvania. As a wealthy lady of status in Philadelphia, Reed sought to use her rank for good and on June 12, 1780, filled with republican fervor, penned “Sentiments of an American Woman.” Reed hoped the broadside would rouse her fellow women to participate in the Revolutionary cause. With a small army of her own, Reed led the charge in a door-to-door fundraising campaign. Originally, the women planned to distribute all funds raised directly to the troops, for the soldiers to do with as they sought fit. However, after a conversation with General George Washington, Reed was persuaded to instead to use the funds to provide clothing for the soldiers. Quite suddenly, Reed died on September 18, 1780, at the young age of 34. The daughter of Benjamin Franklin Sarah Franklin Bache took over Reed’s position at the Ladies Association and saw the completion of more than 2,200 shirts for the troops.

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