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 Teddy Roosevelt War Club What could this strange object have to do with Teddy Roosevelt and his run for a third term presidency?
- Also in Season 7 Shipwreck Cannons Are these the last remains of a navy schooner that fought in a border dispute with the mighty British Empire?
- Also with Wes Cowan Cemetery Alarm Was this explosive device used to stop a morbid black market trade?
- Also with Wes Cowan Lewis & Clark's Cane Was this family heirloom a gift from the famous explorers Lewis and Clark?
- Also in Season 8 Space Boot What does this odd-looking boot have to do with America's first steps in space?
- Related Investigation 1775 Almanac What do these crumbling pages reveal about divided loyalties during the American Revolution?
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.