As the very first first lady, Martha Washington established the position as a respected public role involved in reaching out to the public. She disliked public life, but became known and venerated for the way she conducted herself.
During the Revolutionary War, Martha Washington would join her husband at his winter encampments and he considered her presence so important that he requested her traveling expenses from Congress.
During George Washington's two terms as president, Martha Washington established a weekly salon that was open to anyone who wished to attend. Although some observers of the time were initially critical, her salons became well known for the diverse nature of the attendees as well as for her gracious behavior as hostess. At these gatherings, she was sometimes called "Our Lady Presidentess."