George Washington, Founding CEO

Sharp business skills ensured the first president’s phenomenal success

America’s greatest leader was its first—George Washington. He ran two start-ups, the army and the presidency, and chaired the most important committee meeting in U.S. history, the Constitutional Convention. His agribusiness and real estate portfolio made him America’s richest man. He was as well known as any actress, rapper, or athlete. Men followed him into battle; women longed to dance with him; famous men, almost as great as he was, some of them smarter or better spoken, did what he told them to do. He was the Founding CEO.Read more »

The Gettysburg Gospel

Reading America’s Most Famous Speech

No presidential speech has been as widely analyzed, memorized, or canonized as Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. It has inspired more words to amplify and celebrate its mere 10 sentences than any oration since the Sermon on the Mount: articles, recitals, chapters, set pieces in films and plays, and, at last count, seven major books, most notably, until now, Garry Wills’s Pulitzer Prize– winning Lincoln at Gettysburg: The Words That Remade America . Read more »


A book entitled George Nelson in the Compact Design Portfolio series succinctly summarizes its subject’s career in words and pictures. Original Nelson/Harper/Miller clocks are available from dealers who focus on vintage items. One of them, Evan Snyderman of R 20th Century ( / 212-343-7979), says prices range from less than $2,500 for the most common to the mid-five-figure range for rare ones.Read more »

The Buyable Past

George Nelson Clocks

George Nelson said he got into furniture design by accident, and indeed the architect didn’t actually create many of the mid-twentieth-century modernist icons synonymous with his name. The bubble lamp, the coconut chair, the sling sofa, and others he’s commonly credited with were styled by associates in his New York City office. Read more »

The 3 Faces Of George Washington

How Mount Vernon Rebuilt The First President

What did George Washington really look like? We have a lot of familiar pictures of him, but they never quite agree with one another, and more were made when he was old than when he was young. So when the people who run Mount Vernon, Washington’s estate on the Potomac River in Virginia, wanted exact life-sized likenesses of him at the ages of 19, 45, and 57 for their new visitors’ center, they turned to the tools of forensic anthropology.Read more »

History Now

The 3 Faces of George Washington The Buyable Past Resources The Gettysburg Gospen

Time Machine

25 Years Ago

October 1, 1981 President Ronald Reagan pledges that the United States will not let Saudi Arabia fall into the hands of any power that threatens to cut off its supply of petroleum to the West. The statement seems motivated by fears of an Iran-style revolution. On October 28, after much horse-trading and arm-twisting by Reagan’s aides, the Senate votes, 52–48, to permit sales of AWACS planes and other high-tech military equipment to the Saudis. Read more »

The World Turned Upside Down

On the morning of October 17, 1781, an officer emerged from the British lines holding a white handkerchief

As October began, Gen. Charles Cornwallis and his army of 8,000 redcoats and Hessians knew they were in deep trouble. In late August, after a summer filled with conflicting instructions, they had been ordered to establish a naval base on the Chesapeake. They chose a site at Yorktown, Virginia, set up camp, and waited for the Royal Navy to arrive. It never did. Read more »

What Would The Founders Do Today?

Suppose they could go on "Meet The Press"...

Who cares what the founders would do? Who believes that the experiences, opinions, or plans of men who lived 200 years ago could have any relevance to our problems? Who imagines that the Founders could answer our questions?Read more »

The Magnificent Fraud

How a lying poseur from Prussia gave America its army

There is no evidence of any such events taking place at Valley Forge. The baron’s letter was one more piece of theater in what may well be the greatest public deception ever perpetrated in a good cause.

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