Why did George Washington draw this little hand?
From medieval times to the present, the symbol above has been used to direct attention to important passages of text. This mark is called a manicule (from the Latin root ‘manus’, meaining ‘hand’). This manicule was drawn by George Washington while he was annotating the first draft of the US Constitution on August 6, 1787. National Archives Identifier: 1501555
Today in 1782, George Washington created the Purple Heart
The Purple Heart is the badge for meritorious action. It is our oldest military award.
One Year of Founders Online
This month we celebrate the one year anniversary of the launch of Founders Online – a tool for seamless searching across the papers of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Alexander Hamilton. In the past year, the site has received over 400,000 visits.
An example of the power of the site shows in its great search results. When I searched for “Cotton,” “Beverly,” and “Washington,” the results returned the exact document I had in mind – a diary entry by George Washington written in 1789 remarking on his visit to the cotton manufactury in my home town of Beverly, Massachusetts.
Read the full post on the AOTUS blog.
225th Anniversary of the First Congress: We’ll be posting documents and stories highlighting the establishment of the new government under the Constitution through March 2016.
On April 30, 1789, George Washington took the oath as the first President of the United States. The oath was administered by Robert R. Livingston, the Chancellor of New York, on a second floor balcony of Federal Hall, above a crowd assembled in the streets to witness this historic event. President Washington and the members of Congress then retired to the Senate Chamber, where Washington delivered the first inaugural address to a joint session of Congress.
Washington sent an important message by dressing in a plain brown suit that was American made instead of his military uniform. He deliberately chose to dress similar to the people who elected him, and refused to place himself above others.
Happy Presidents’ Day Weekend!
Or maybe not…the official title of Monday’s holiday has actually been “George Washington’s Birthday” since its establishment in 1879.
Never mind that this holiday hasn’t fallen on Washington’s actual birthday in nearly fifty years or that a certain 16th President also celebrates his big day this month (more on that here). Grab a slice of cake and tip your party hats to our first President and the 43 that have come after him - including Our Presidents’ own fab thirteen!
George Washington’s Family Tree
Pedigree of the Most Illustrious General George Washington, first President of the United States of America, 08/01/1873
This illustrated lineage chart was presented by genealogist James Phillippe of London, England to President Ulysses S. Grant in 1873.
Want to research your own ancestry? Check out the National Archives’ Genealogy resources →
What illustrious personalities are hiding in your family tree?
George Washington is inaugurated as the first President on this day in 1789. Shown here, his handwritten inauguration speech.
Wondering why Inauguration Day now falls on January 20th? Find out from the FDR Library.
On April 30, 1789, George Washington took the Presidential oath on a second floor balcony of Federal Hall. Below, an enthusiastic crowd assembled in the streets. The President and members of Congress then retired to the Senate Chamber, where Washington delivered his first inaugural address.
Keenly aware of the momentousness of the occasion, Washington accepted the Presidency and spoke of his determination to make the American experiment a success. He humbly noted the power of the nation’s call for him to serve as President and the shared responsibility of the President and Congress to preserve “the sacred fire of liberty” and a republican form of government. You can read the transcript of this speech.
Today in History— The Death of Dwight D. Eisenhower
On January 20, 1961 Eisenhower retired to his small farm adjacent to the battlefield outside Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. In retirement he did not completely retreat from political life. As an Elderstatesman he remained active in the Republican Party. Both Presidents Kennedy and Johnson solicited his advice on international problems.
Upon entering the office of the Presidency, Dwight Eisenhower had resigned his permanent commission as General of the Army. President Kennedy reactivated his commission as a five star general in the United States Army. With the exception of George Washington, Eisenhower is the only United States President with military service to reenter the Armed Forces after leaving the office of President.
In August 1965, Eisenhower suffered a serious heart attack that ended his participation in public affairs. He was frequently hospitalized over the next three years. He suffered another heart attack in the summer of 1968 and he spent his last few months in Walter Reed Army Hospital, where he died on March 28, 1969.
Eisenhower was buried in his World War II uniform.
-from the Eisenhower Library
In Southern California? Starting today, you can see George Washington’s personal copy of the Constitution and other important documents from the founding of the United States.
George Washington’s historic book, the Acts of Congress, is on a nationwide tour to the 13 Presidential Libraries and Museums. It is on loan from the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association.
The exhibit opens today at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley. In addition to the Acts of Congress, the Reagan Library will have other treasures from the vaults on display.
The “Stone” copy of the Declaration of Independence was commissioned in 1823 by Secretary of State John Quincy Adams and created by engraver William Stone.
Pictured above left: Cover of Washington’s Acts of Congress, courtesy of Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association. Right, close up of the upper left hand corner from the “Stone” Declaration of Independence from the holdings of the Reagan Library.