George Washington Was Born
Americans celebrate George Washington's
birthday on the Monday before his actual day of birth.
Since Washington was born 20 years before the introduction of
the calendar we use today it can be difficult to figure out the
exact day of his birth. Fortunately, someone left a clue in a
A clue to George Washington's birth date is
found in this 1790 letter by Tobias Lear, Washington's secretary
and close friend. Lear wrote that the president's "birth day"
was on the 11th February Old Style. By "Old Style," Lear meant
the Julian Calendar, the calendar in use when Washington was
born. When the Julian Calendar was "corrected" to the Gregorian
Calendar in 1752, Washington's birth date and year moved from
February 11, 1731, to February 22, 1732.
Letters such as
Lear's were an important form of communication in 18th century
America. They were so important that people sometimes kept
letter books, large bound volumes used to hold copies of the
letters they both received and wrote. What clues and information
about the 21st century might people find in your letters or