J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

The George Washington’s Headquarters Download

As I announced on Tuesday, the National Park Service has published my book-length historic resource study George Washington’s Headquarters and Home—Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Nathaniel Philbrick, author of In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex and Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War, has called this study “an amazing piece of work that will be an invaluable resource for years to come.”

The Park Service printed a limited number for institutional use, but anyone can obtain a digital copy in P.D.F. form by clicking here. Be warned—the file is 5.61 megabytes!

Reformatting my finished pages resulted in some errors that might cause confusion. We’re looking into whether the digital version can be changed, but here’s the erratum list as it stands now.

Figures 3 and 4 appear between pages 197 and 199, not on page 173.

The full text of the caption on page 232 is:
Figure 5. Martha Washington’s New England itinerary, as preserved in the expense account that aide de camp George Baylor submitted in January 1776. The first column shows the dates of Baylor’s travel away from headquarters, from 27 November to 11 December 1775. The second column names the towns (or in one line the tavern) where Baylor and his party stopped, presumably for a midday dinner or overnight accommodations. The third column shows the cash he laid out. Image from the George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress.
Many commas after dates have gone missing, but the only one I spotted producing an error of fact rather than punctuation is on page 526. The first sentence in section 16.12 should read: “On 10 December, Rhode Island governor Nicholas Cooke reported, two Frenchmen arrived in Providence from Haiti aboard a ship ‘despatched some time since from this place for powder.’” Those men arrived from Martinique on 10 December; Cooke wrote of their arrival the next day.

Those Frenchmen, Pierre Penet and Emmanuel de Pliarne, went to Cambridge to meet with Gen. Washington, arriving about the same time as Martha Washington. [See how the last two paragraphs tie together?] On their way home, they asked the general to pass on to “Madam Your Lady” a selection of oranges and other tropical fruit, wines, and sugar. The next day, I was pleased to find, the Rev. Dr. Samuel Cooper recorded visiting headquarters to meet the general’s wife and being “Treated with Oranges and a Glass of Wine.”

And that in turn lets me repeat that tonight at 6:00 P.M. Longfellow House–Washington’s Headquarters will host a slide talk by archeologist Alicia Paresi on the many shards of wine bottles recently found encased in mortar in the mansion’s basement. Did any of those bottles come from Penet and De Pliarne?


Anonymous said...

It looks fascinating and I can't wait to read it. Thanks so much for the download. If I may make a suggestion -- this was be a great item to upload to Amazon.com's Kindle and to Barnes & Noble's Nook services. It costs nothing to list and you can make a bit on your immense investment in time and research. -- Joe Bauman

Anonymous said...

Oops, I just saw it's published by the Department of the Interior, so I suppose you can't profit from it via Kindle or Nook. Sorry -- Joe Bauman

J. L. Bell said...

Yes, this document was commissioned by the National Park Service, which means both that I can’t just publish it on my own and that it’s made available to everyone.

I had an eye toward the ePub format when I prepared my files, but I wasn't involved in the final formatting.

I haven't tried the final P.D.F. document on my various devices, but I hope it's readable.