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American historic preservationists universally credit Ann Pamela Cunningham, the woman who saved George Washington's Mount Vernon home, as the chief architect of the historic preservation movement in the United States. However, little scholarship has considered how Cunningham's social position as a woman significantly contributed to her ability to save Mount Vernon, and thus jumpstart a national movement to save historically significant places. Using Cunningham and the organization she formed, the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association of the Union (MVLA), widely regarded as the nation's first historic preservation society, this paper considers the intersection of gender and early historic preservation in the United States.