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General Washington having been informed, lately, of the honor done him by Miss Kitty Livingston in wishing for a lock of his Hair, takes the liberty of inclosing one, accompanied by his most respectful compliments

When looking at this letter, consider the following questions:

  • Why would someone ask for a lock of hair? How does a lock of hair resemble friendship? 
  • From this lock of hair, what can we tell about George Washington?
  • What was happening in the American Revolution when this letter was written?

Classroom Materials downloads are ZIP files that include, when available: document images (JPEGs), document transcripts (PDF as well as Word and/or Excel files), and ready to use classroom resources (activities, discussion prompts, lesson plans, etc.). These materials are available for educational uses only. If you would like to reproduce them in any other medium, please contact Dawn Bonner, Manager of Visual Resources.

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This letter was sent to Catharine “Kitty” Wilhelmina Livingston from George Washington. Kitty had written to Washington, asking for a lock of his hair as a sign of their friendship. Washington honored this request while at Valley Forge and sent her the hair in this response.

 

*Note: there is a picture of a lock of Washington's hair in this primary source, but it wasn't the exact lock he sent to Kitty. Instead, it gives us a good idea of what he might have sent her. For the story on this exact lock, click here.

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