Monday, July 12, 2004

A Concert of Mourning

A Concert of Mourning An in-depth look at George Washington's final days and the nation's response to his death.

From the site:

This year marks the bicentennial of the death of George Washington, the first president of the United States, who died on December 14, 1799, at the age of 67. In his last will and testament, Washington requested a simple and quiet burial, but his fame did not allow him to go without ceremony. The commemoration of his life and death began on December 18, when friends, relatives, dignitaries, military officers, and representatives from the Masonic Order participated in an elaborate funeral at Mount Vernon.

Special commemorative newspapers decorated with black mourning borders carried word of Washington's death to the nation. What followed was a wave of universal mourning that began on December 26, the formal day of mourning in the nation's capital of Philadelphia, and continued for several months. The young nation expressed its grief in private letters, in resolutions by Congress and state and local governments, and in hundreds of commemorative speeches and mock funerals across the country. So fervent was the need to express bereavement that ladies decorated their clothing with black silk and wore memorial jewelry, while men donned black armbands. Shoppers and storekeepers noted a scarcity of black material and accessories as late as July 1800.

It was to explore the many and varied facets of what was the greatest mourning period in the history of the United States that this exhibit brought together approximately forty books, pamphlets, engravings, lithographs, and other artifacts. Objects from this exhibit not pictured in the pamphlet, will soon be available for viewing on this website.

No comments: