Please join us for lunch and compelling discussion with a member of our 2015-2016 class of fellows as he presents his findings and research at the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington.

On June 27, 2016 Library fellow Dr. Phil Levy will discuss the results of his research topic Building X: Unearthing George Washington’s Birth in an Age of Change.

About His Research 

Washington's birth is just about the most certain thing about his early life, and for decades there has been an equal amount of certainty about just where that birth took place. The small neck of land off the Potomac River at Pope's Creek has long been known as the place where Washington drew his first breath, and the land there is rich with centuries of family associations. The question has been just where on that land was the Washington family homestead and what can we know of it? The years of the Washington Bicentennial saw an imaginative reconstruction on one possible site, but visitors to the site today will learn that another location close by is the more likely location of the "birth home." It seems to be a completed story or error and correction and many a visitor has heard it told. But a recent reanalysis of the site's original archaeology has severely challenged the long-standing story of the place where Washington was born: despite decades of certainty, the evidence is casting more doubt than anyone was prepared for. This talk is a chance to see up close just what is forcing us all to rethink what we thought we knew about the place of Washington's birth.

About Dr. Levy

Levy is a Professor of History at the University of South Florida. In 2008 he won international attention for co-leading the team that found the remains of George Washington’s childhood home at Ferry Farm in Fredericksburg, Virginia — the saga of which he recounted in his 2013 book, Where the Cherry Tree Grew: The Story of Ferry Farm, George Washington’s Boyhood Home. His forthcoming book, George Washington Written Upon the Land, explores the many retellings of Washington’s much-fabled childhood and covers themes ranging from biography to archaeology and environmental history to rabbinic thought.

 

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