George Washington Miniature
History Detectives goes to the heart of Manhattan to investigate a tiny portrait which may lie at the center of some very big history.
It’s spring, 1789 and 20,000 Philadelphians pack the streets to catch a glimpse of their nation’s leader en route to New York. First in war and first in peace, George Washington has been elected President and as his inaugural procession forges north, America celebrates freedom from British rule. But for the thousands of enslaved African Americans watching the parade, liberty is nowhere in sight. If President Washington won’t pave their way to citizenship, who will?
Dave Cox of Greenville, Ohio, has stumbled across a miniature color painting of a man in profile labeled “G. Washington.” On the back of the portrait is the inscription, “Property of White Matlack, New York, 1790.” Did the artist paint this portrait of Washington from life, and what is its surprising connection to the little-known abolitionist and patriot, White Matlack?
- Related Investigation Liberty Bell Pin Was one of America’s most iconic symbols melted down into a mere memento?
- Also in Season 7 Navajo Rug Why would a weaver depart from tradition to make this rug?
- Also in Season 8 Lauste Film Clip How is this odd strip of film connected to the invention of talking movies?
- Related Investigation Body In The Basement Are these the remains of an executed prisoner of war from an English Civil War battle?
- Also in Season 8 Moon Museum Was work by major artists, including Andy Warhol, smuggled to the moon?
- Also with Wes Cowan 3D Cuban Missile Crisis Did this portable projection screen help save the Free World?
This is a place for opinions, comments, questions and discussion; a place where viewers of History Detectives can express their points of view and connect with others who value history. We ask that posters be polite and respectful of all opinions. History Detectives reserves the right to delete comments that don’t conform to this conduct. We will not respond to every post, but will do our best to answer specific questions, or address an error.