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'Tis Well: Tobias Lear and the Death of George Washington

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Historical Society of Pennsylvania

1300 Locust St

Philadelphia, PA 19107

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Behind no fewer than four locked doors, nestled in HSP’s Treasures Vault, is a small pocket diary. At first glance it appears unremarkable, with a plain brown cover and no identifying markings or clues to its contents. Contained within its pages, however, is a significant event: a firsthand account of the death of George Washington, first president of the United States of America, recorded by Tobias Lear.

Join us for a conversation examining Lear, the diary, and the events leading to Washington’s death. Who was Tobias Lear? How did his diary end up in HSP’s archives? And was Washington’s death simply from the common cold, or from the treatment meant to cure it, or somewhere in between?

Speakers from HSP and Mount Vernon will explore the life of Lear, a close and longtime friend of George Washington, and dig in to the medical theories of what caused Washington’s death.

Lear’s diary is the sole surviving eyewitness account of Washington’s death. A project is underway at HSP to transcribe the diary to make it more accessible to researchers.

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Historical Society of Pennsylvania

1300 Locust St

Philadelphia, PA 19107

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