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Sarah Tracy Collection

 Collection — Box: Cartes de visite - Box 1
Identifier: STC

Scope and Contents

Collection of 80 photographs which belonged to Miss Sarah C. Tracy (later Mrs. Upton H. Herbert), resident secretary at Mount Vernon during the Civil War years. The pictures most of which are cartes de visite were collected by Miss Tracy; some were obviously presented to her, after the fashion of the day, and are inscribed. Besides the one of herself there are three of Mount Vernon which must date from the years of her residence. Others include Leeds Castle, the English seat of Thomas, Lord Fairfax; the President's House at the Soldiers' Home, Washington, D.C.; the Milwaukee residence of Mrs. Mitchell, Vice-Regent for Wisconsin; General Winfield Scott; General George B. McClellan; W. W. Corcoran of Washington, D.C.; George W. Riggs, Treasurer of the Association; Lord Fairfax; Prince Napoleon; Louis de Geofroy (of the French Legation, who accompanied Price Napoleon to Mount Vernon in August, 1861), inscribed; and Miss Nettie Chase, daughter of Hon. Salmon P. Chase of the Lincoln Cabinet. Also included are pictures of others, chiefly celebrated figures of the nineteenth century; these were probably acquired through gift or purchases, and not presented by the subjects themselves.

Gift of Miss Tracy's great-niece, Miss Caro Arnold of Montclair, N. J., 1953


  • 1859-1868


Conditions Governing Use

This collection is open for research during scheduled appointments. Researchers must complete the Washington Library's Special Collections and Archives Registration From before access is provided. The library reserves the right to restrict access to certain material for preservation purposes.

Conditions Governing Use

Material can be reproduced for study or personal use upon written approval from library staff.

Biographical / Historical

Sarah Tracy was the secretary to the regent of the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, Ann Pamela Cunningham of South Carolina. As the Civil War was descending on the nation, Sarah Tracy (and her sister as chaperone) moved into Mount Vernon to protect the estate and ensure absolute neutrality. This was a troubling time on the estate and at one point, she braved barricades, destroyed roads, and a night in a commandeered house, for promises of neutrality and supplies from General McClellan. For eight years, she served as doctor and manager at Mount Vernon while selling flowers, produce, and jewelry which she made out of coffee beans in order to raise money. The Ladies Association also appointed a Superintendent to care for the estate, Upton Herbert, who was trapped at Mount Vernon through the war. After Miss Tracy resigned in 1868, she married Mr. Herbert and they passed on the care of George Washington’s home to make their own home together in Burke, Virginia.

Biography extracted from: Mount Vernon Education Department, “Love & War at Mount Vernon” in George Washington Wired, June 30, 2009


80 Photographic Prints

Language of Materials



The arrangement of the collection is divided between people (identified and unidentified) and places; and then arranged in alphabetical order.

Sarah Tracy Collection
Mount Vernon staff
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Photo Archives of the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association Repository

P.O. Box 3600
Mount Vernon VA 22121 United States