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 Jefferson Pledge Did the transformation of the nation's public education system begin with this $200 pledge?
- Related Investigation Monroe Letter Does this letter link America's President to the high seas piracy of U.S. merchant ships in the early 1800s?
- Also with Wes Cowan Ernie Pyle's Typewriter Did America’s most beloved battlefront correspondent bang out his dispatches on this Corona 3?
- Also with Wes Cowan Jigsaw Puzzle Does this puzzle depict a real event - women playing contact sports in the late 19th century?
- Also in Season 7 Scottsboro Boys Stamp Did a penny stamp help save the Scottsboro Boys from the electric chair?
- Also in Season 8 Theremin How did this strange instrument help spark a rock n’ roll 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.