Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Washington's Birthday Through New Eyes

I get a kick out of finding history in unexpected places, like in the "Restaurants & Food" section of the Inquirer.

Restaurant critic Craig LaBan wrote a two-part feature (ending yesterday) in honor of George Washington's birthday. The stories focus on Washington's slave Hercules, who was a talented chef and who escaped from Mount Vernon on Washington's birthday in 1797. (You can find both articles, as well as a handful of related multimedia resources, here.)

The stories include lots of rich details about the food of Washington's era, no doubt because it is LaBan exploring this topic.

But I love that LaBan's digging helped the professional historians connect some dots (detailed in part two), clarifying that Hercules escaped not from the President's House in Philadelphia but from Mount Vernon in Virginia.

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