"First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen"
-Journal of the House of Representatives entry for December 19, 1799.
Washington, DC . . . In memory of President Washington, on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of his death, the National Archives and Records Administration will display selected pages from the Journal of the House of Representatives (December 19, 1799), a concert of authentic 18th-century music, an author lecture, and a documentary film on George Washington.
The public programs are free and open to the public. The National Archives Building is located at Constitution Avenue between 7th and 9th Streets, NW.
Wednesday, December 1-Special Document Display
200th Anniversary of the Death of George Washington
On December 14, 1799, George Washington, first President of the United States, died at the age of 67, after a short illness. The first of several pages from the Journal of the House of Representatives will be on display showing resolutions passed by the grief-stricken Congress expressing their profound sorrow for this unprecedented national loss. Congress responded with resolutions written by Representative Henry Lee expressing profound sorrow and the need for a joint committee to report on measures suitable to mourn the loss of America's first national hero. National Archives Rotunda, through December 19. On display with permission of the House of Representatives.
Tuesday, December 14-Archival Sources Performance
George Washington: Music for the First President
David and Ginger Hildebrand present an authentic repertoire of 18th-century music with period instruments. The program features music commemorating George Washington's life and career. Selected chiefly from 18th-century sources, these are pieces composed in Washington's honor, songs heard at Mount Vernon during his lifetime, tunes to which he danced, and airs and instrumental works he enjoyed at the theater and in concert. Attendees will experience the music as it was when freshly transplanted from England, Scotland, Ireland, the Continent, and Africa. Yet not all was imported-a few early Americans responded to the unique character of their world by crafting new music, and Americans' fascination with the first President helped spur on such new compositions. (Approximately 1 hour.) Noon. Theater.
Thursday, December 16-Author Lecture and Booksigning
Richard Norton Smith will discuss his book Patriarch: George Washington and the New American Nation, a dramatic portrait of George Washington in his Presidential years. In his eight years as President, Washington would need every ounce of his countrymen's well-known adulation as he presided over a government torn by factionalism and still threatened by European imperialism. Richard Norton Smith is the Director of the Gerald R. Ford Museum. 7 P.M. Room 105.
Wednesday, December 15-Film
George Washington: The Man Who Wouldn't Be King, released in 1992, explores the events that shaped the character of George Washington up to his election as President. This comprehensive documentary uses interviews with historians, battle reenactments, and visits to historical sites. Produced by David Sutherland. (58 minutes.) Noon. Theater.
For additional PRESS information, please contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at (301) 837-1700 or by e-mail.