A year after the Battle of Harlem Heights, Burr meets Theodosia Prevost, bride of a British officer stationed in the West Indies, and mistress of “The Hermitage”, named after Jean-Jacque Rousseau’s cottage serving as Washington’s headquarters in 1777 at Ho-ho-kus, New Jersey. 

 Politically at odds with her absentee husband, her home became something of a salon.  Her French was excellent and as Burr’s improved so began an intimacy. Ten years Burr’s senior, she was sophisticated and literate, providing intellectual and artistic companionship, directing Burr’s immersion in the more radical concepts of the Enlightenment as a mate.  On the death of her first husband from yellow fever in 1782, they married. 

 The age difference isn’t all they had to overcome.  With five children and in poor health, they will have three more children, of which only her namesake will survive. Theodosia, the daughter, will enjoy their embrace of Rousseau’s ideas of child rearing, education and equality, Thomas Paine’s Common Sense and the egalitarian principles of Mary Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of the Rights of Women.

 The Burr’s were radical revolutionaries practicing a doctrine few preached. As disciples of Wollstonecraft they could be considered the first feminists in America. The education of their daughter, heir to four generations of educated Edwards-Burr women.

Cane boned illusion brocade corset with letters between sheets of isinglass.
Armature by Lucia Del Sanchez

Bischoff, Henry. A Revolutionary Relationship: Theodosia Prevost, Aaron Burr & The Hermitage.
The Friends of the Hermitage, 2004
Corset Resaerch Courtesy of The Friends of the Hermitage.