We invite our readers to guess how the father of our country signed his name. Was “George Washington” or “G. Washington” the form he customarily used? If you thought it was the first version, you were dead wrong. So were we.
In February, 1977, we ran a story about Nellie Custis, G. Washington’s stepgranddaughter. With it, we included a letter of advice from Washington embellished with a copy of what we assumed was his signature.
Not so, as Donald Jackson, former editor of the Washington papers and author of the article, pointed out to us:
“It’s a One issue.… But note that the facsimile signature on page 84 of my story is not that of George Washington. It is a crude imitation, probably done by some clerk in making a contemporary copy of a Washington letter.”