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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Friday, February 12, 2016

Lectures on Washington in Washington, 19 and 23 Feb.

The American Revolution Institute of the Society of the Cincinnati is sponsoring a couple of free programs at the Anderson House library and museum in Washington, D.C.

Friday, 19 February, 12:30 P.M.
Ellen Clark, “Washington’s February 1783 Letter to Rittenhouse”

The Society of the Cincinnati Library Director presents George Washington’s letter to David Rittenhouse, written from Newburgh, New York, on February 16, 1783, thanking the Philadelphia inventor and instrument maker for a set of spectacles. Just three weeks later, General Washington would famously pull out his newly acquired reading glasses during a speech to a group of officers, effectively quelling their threatened mutiny.
In his recent talk at the Lexington Historical Society, Bill Fowler described how Washington had written out his prepared remarks to the restive officers at Newburgh in his large round hand; the Massachusetts Historical Society has preserved that document. But when on the fly the general chose to read another document as well, he had to pull out those spectacles.

Tuesday, 23 February, 6:00 P.M.
Wendy Wick Reaves, “Washington’s Face: What Did the Average Citizen See?”

At the start of the Revolutionary War, almost any fictitious image could pass as a portrait of an American hero, but George Washington as commander-in-chief warranted extra efforts. From the start of the Revolution, American printmakers searched for an accurate likeness of the Washington. So what did the average farmer, frontiersman, housewife, or child see of his countenance? Reaves, curator emerita of prints and drawings at the National Portrait Gallery, discusses these amateur print images of Washington that circulated around the country in the late eighteenth century.
The image above is an equally fictitious portrait made for the French market. The Philadelphia Print Shop offers it and others.

These talks are, of course, linked to the anniversary of Washington’s birth on 22 February.

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