Elizabeth Willing Powel: Philadelphia's First Political Influencer (Zoom Event)

Elizabeth Willing Powel and her husband Samuel, a vestryman of Christ Church and Mayor of the city of Philadelphia, were at the center of political and social activity in Philadelphia throughout the late eighteenth century. The couple entertained the era’s dignitaries in their elegant townhouse that still stands on South Third Street.

Samantha Snyder will discuss Powel’s importance as a woman of great political acumen and compelling intellect, using the robust documentary record and contemporary observations to explore Powel’s lasting legacy in the city of Philadelphia, and the founding of the United States.


Samantha Snyder is the Research Librarian at George Washington's Mount Vernon. She holds a master's degree in history from George Mason University, with an emphasis on 18th-century American history. She also holds a master’s in library and information studies and a BA in English literature from the University of Wisconsin. Her studies focus on the history of early American women, as well as the social and material culture of urban elites in the mid-Atlantic. Her current project is a biography entitled A Brilliant Constellation: The Life of Elizabeth Willing Powel, a good friend of George Washington and a powerful political figure in Philadelphia.