September 6, 2019 10

Did George Washington Have Good Handwriting?

Did George Washington Have Good Handwriting?


(gentle music) – My name is Naima my question is did George Washington have good hand writing? – That’s an interesting question. Washington did have good hand writing. No one really mentioned it back in the 1700’s if he had
good or bad hand writing but as you can see in
this document over here is a very early survey that Washington did when he was only 17 years old. He was going out into the wild of Virginia and going around and making little notes as to different plots
of land and you can see he even drew a little bit and so he was also a very good artist. But if you look at his hand writing it’s very very neat
for being 17 years old. Can any of you read cursive? That’s how everyone wrote
back in the 18th century. And then over here this letter is from when he was 52 years
old and he was writing to a man named Marquise du Chatelet. This man was a general in the French army and he was a very very good
friend of George Washington. They worked together when Washington was trying to work with a
man named General Rochambeau who was a French general and
Washington didn’t speak French and Rochambeau didn’t speak english. So the Marquise du Chatelet was translating between the two of them. So Washington after the war
started writing to Chatelet and then back and forth
and in this specific letter after the war had ended he
mentions that he wants to sit under his own vine in his own fig tree which some of you might recognize that sentence from the musical Hamiton. In addition to a letter from Washington we now have a letter from Martha that is dated in 1797 so
what we wanna show now is the difference
between the very readable Washington’s letter then the not quite as nice Martha’s letter. Martha didn’t have as good of hand writing as Washington and she
actually throughout her life dictated some of her
letters to Washington. So she would have him write her letters for her and then she would
put her signature at the end. It still was written as
though Martha was talking but it’s clearly
Washington’s hand writing. Which is a very interesting practice that other people did in the 18th century.

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