Theodosia Burr | History of SC Slide Collection

Theodosia Burr

The daughter of Aaron Burr, Theodosia Burr (1783-1813) was born in Albany, New York, but much of her childhood was spent in New York City. Her father oversaw her education in French, music, dancing, arithmetic, Latin, Greek, and English composition. At the age of 16, she was one of the belles of New York society. The following year, in 1801, she married Joseph Alston and became prominent in South Carolina society. During her father's trial for treason in 1807, Theodosia was with him in Richmond giving him support. In 1808, when Burr took passage to Europe under an assumed name, Theodosia also traveled under an assumed name to bid him farewell. During Burr's four years of exile, Theodosia served as his agent in America, raising money and sending it to him, along with messages from supporters. On her own initiative, she wrote to Mrs. Madison, the President's wife, in an attempt to smooth the way for her father's return. However, after Burr returned to New York in 1812, Theodosia was unable to visit him immediately. She had been ill, and the death of her son, Aaron, in June, had left her unable to travel. It was not until December that she was able to go to her father. On December 30, 1812, she sailed out of Georgetown harbor on the "Patriot," but the ship never reached port. What happened to Theodosia is not known. This miniature is by an unknown artist after an 1801 portrait by John Vanderlyn (1783-1812).

Courtesy of the Gibbes Museum of Art/Carolina Art Assocation.

More in this Series