In 1796, only 13 years after Great Britain and the United States fought against each other in the War of Independence, Henrietta Liston arrived in Philadelphia with her husband, Robert, who had just been appointed British Minister to the United States. By the end of their four-and-a-half year posting, the Listons had won the trust and admiration of leading figures in the new government including the first US President George Washington. It was a triumph of personal charm and cultured diplomacy.
This is demonstrated in rich detail by Henrietta’s handwritten North American journals which are part of the Library’s Liston papers archive and are now being made available online to mark International Women’s Day on March 8. Although her acute observations of life in the early days of the United States have long been studied by researchers, the online offering will make them easily available to a much wider audience.