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Philadelphian David Rittenhouse (1732-1796) was a gifted astronomer, mathematician and scientific instruments maker. President George Washington acknowledged his skills by appointing him first director of the United States Mint on April 14, 1792. Rittenhouse died in June 1796, and this print - after a portrait Peale painted upon Rittenhouse's election as president of the American Philosophical Society in 1791 - was published that December. Washington purchased his copy on January 9, 1797, for $3.00. At Mount Vernon, he placed it in the Small Dining Room alongside other American heroes of science and military valor, including Benjamin Franklin, Anthony Wayne and Nathaniel Greene.


December 10, 1796




Ink, wove paper


Overall: 20 1/4 in. x 14 7/8 in. (51.44 cm x 37.78 cm)

Credit Line

Gift of James K. Cleary, 1887

Object Number


Colors (Beta)

Mount Vernon's object research is ongoing and information about this object is subject to change. For information on image use and reproductions, click here.
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