Esther de Berdt Reed


Esther de Berdt Reed

Charles Kennedy Burt, Engraver
ca. 1848

Esther de Berdt Reed was the First Lady of Pennsylvania and the wife of Governor Joseph Reed. In 1780, she founded the Ladies Association of Philadelphia, who led local relief efforts and raised funds for the Continental Army. Her work inspired women in other states, like New Jersey. 

This image of Reed appeared in Elizabeth Ellet’s The Women of the American Revolution, published in 1848, nearly 70 years after Reed’s death in 1780. Ellet’s work celebrated Reed’s contributions to the American Revolution. 

Library Company of Philadelphia,

“Sentiments of An American Woman” Broadside

Esther de Berdt Reed, Author
Ink on Paper

Esther de Berdt Reed’s “Sentiments of An American Woman” broadside emphasized women’s contributions to the Revolution and advocated for their patriotic duty to participate in the War for Independence. Reed’s fundraising campaign raised over $300,000 for the Continental Army.

Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Printed Ephemera Collection.