Note: This exhibit
is CLOSED. For reference only.
October 2 -
November 20, 1999
Delaware History Museum
Home | Museums | Current Exhibitions
Read George Washington's
Letter to Caesar Rodeny
Two hundred years ago a young nation mourned the loss of
its "Father," General, and President George Washington. Solemn
processions, orations, and the creation of keepsakes marked his passing. Soon after,
writers, storytellers, and artists began adding myths to the memories.
The Historical Society of Delaware (now
Delaware Historical Society) explored George
Washington: Man, Myth, Memory, in an exhibition at the Delaware History Center.
Rarely exhibited letters, images, paintings, memorabilia, and artifact form the basis of
this exhibit that explores the veneration of George Washington throughout his life into
The Man: Surprisingly , George Washington was uncomfortable with public life,
preferring instead the quiet life of a gentleman farmer. Among other letters on
display, those he wrote to Delawareans Gunning Bedford, Caesar Rodney, and George Read
during the Revolutionary War, help illustrate how Washington's character and leadership
destined him to become the nation's first president and national icon.
The Memory : When Washington died, the
entire nation went into mourning. Americans acquired pictures, plates, pitchers, ribbons
and other goods memorializing the "Father of Our Country." About fifty of
these late 18th Century commemorative items are included in the exhibit.
The Myth : Washington's public image continued to
grow after his death through glorification of him by others in print, the visual arts, and
pop culture. Authors wrote embellished biographies which were sometimes based
in fact, other times not (for example, Washington and the cherry tree). Several of these
biographies, dating back as many as 190 years, will be on display, including one
illustrated by Howard Pyle. The representation of Washington's physical image was
handled similarly, as evidenced in a display of paintings, etchings, and sketches by more
than 20 artists, including Delawarean F.O.C. Darley.
The exhibit also includes a display of ephemera that
illustrates how Washington's image and stature have been commercialized since his death in
invitations and advertisements.
Previously on Exhibit
|Music Enjoyed by George Washington
entertainers David and Ginger Hildebrand
perform a commemorative convert in period
clothing and with
October 20, 1999
|George Washington: Father of His Country
and political writer Richard Brookhiser discusses
America's perception of George
Washington, and the personal
and political meaning of fatherhood in Washington's life and
© 1999 Historical Society of Delaware (now Delaware
Send Comments, Questions, or Requests to
Delaware Historical Society