From Private Mansion to Public Residence:
The Official Homes of the First Ladies and Hostesses Of Maryland, 1753-1999

Since the end of the 17th century, Annapolis has been the political center of Maryland and, for much of the time, the residence of the governor has been at the heart of this political life. In, first, Jennings House on the grounds of what is now the U.S. Naval Academy and, now, the imposing house on State Circle, governors have carried out much of the political business of the state, entertained visiting dignitaries, and lived with their families. The walls of both Jennings House and Government Houses could tell us many interesting stories.

If the walls could talk, central to many of the stories would be the wives, daughters, mothers, and friends of governors who made these stories possible. Their supportive roles, organizational abilities, social skills, and just plain hard work have made it possible for the governors of Maryland to administer the state effectively. These unsung heroines of Maryland history will be the focus of this book. The stories of their contributions and their considerable talents need and deserve to be told.

The two Government Houses themselves are interesting stories. Jennings House went from being a house leased by a colonial governor, to being privately owned by Maryland's last proprietary governor, then confiscated by the state at the time of the Revolution and, finally, replaced by a grander house on State Circle. This new house, across the street from the State House, began as a superb example of the high Victorian style and was then transformed in the 20th century into a colonial revival Georgian-style country house.

This book will examine the history of the two Government Houses, from the pre-Revolutionary period through to the present day. It will relate many of the stories connected to the men and women who lived and worked in the governor's residence and had an important impact on the political, economic, and social lives of the state. It will be richly illustrated with full-color and duotone images of the first ladies and official hostesses themselves, objects and furnishings connected to their lives in Government House, and letters and documents relating to their life stories and Government House.