The Many Faces of George Washington
Remaking A Presidential IconBook - 2011
"No picture accurately resembled him in the minute traits of his person . . . there was an expression of his face that no painter had succeeded in taking."--London's New Monthly Magazine in 1790
George Washington's face has been painted, printed, and engraved more than a billion times since his birth in 1732. And yet even in his lifetime, no picture seemed to capture the likeness of the man who is now the most iconic of all our presidents. Worse still, people today often see this founding father as the "old and grumpy" Washington on the dollar bill.
In 2005 a team of historians, scientists, and artisans at Mount Vernon set out to change the image of our first president. They studied paintings and sculptures, pored over Washington's letters to his tailors and noted other people's comments about his appearance, even closely examined the many sets of dentures that had been created for Washington. Researchers tapped into skills as diverse as 18th-century leatherworking and cutting-edge computer programming to assemble truer likenesses. Their painstaking research and exacting processes helped create three full-body representations of Washington as he was at key moments in his life. And all along the way, the team gained new insight into a man who was anything but "old and grumpy." Join award-winning author Carla Killough McClafferty as she unveils the statues of the three Georges and rediscovers the man who became the face of a new nation.
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Recently The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association had a problem. Thirty years ago your average American knew more about President George Washington than folks today. What to do? In an interesting twist, the Association placed much of the blame on the image of George found on the dollar bill. I mean seriously, who can relate to that guy? It would be great if you could find a way to discover what the man actually looked like. So Jeffrey H. Schwartz, a forensic anthropologist from the University of Pittsburgh, and a whole team of experts were brought in to try to create life-sized reproductions of Washington at ages nineteen (young surveyor), forty-five (General), and fifty-seven (President). As we watch the reconstruction of a man long dead, the text is interspersed with information about Washington at each of these ages, telling the story of the man as well as the body. A Timeline, Source Notes, Index, Bibliography, and section for Further Reading (including websites) are all included at the end.
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