Seven Finalists Named for $50,000 George Washington Prize

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Seven books published in 2018 by the country’s most prominent historians have been named finalists for the 2019 George Washington Prize. The annual award recognizes the past year’s best written works on the nation’s founding era, especially those that have the potential to advance broad public understanding of early American history.

“A gifted historian sheds light on the present as well as the past,” says Adam Goodheart, director of Washington College’s Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, one of the prize’s three cosponsors. “Each of these seven authors helps illuminate a nation still struggling to understand and define itself after nearly two and a half centuries. We at Washington College—whose own history goes back to the nation’s founding—are pleased to honor them.”

Created in 2005 by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, George Washington’s Mount Vernon, and Washington College, the $50,000 George Washington Prize is one of the nation’s largest and most notable literary awards. Written to engage a wide public audience, the books provide a “go-to” reading list for anyone interested in learning more about George Washington, his contemporaries, and the founding of the United States of America.

The 2019 George Washington Prize finalists are:

Colin CallowayThe Indian World of George Washington: The First President, the First Americans, and the Birth of the Nation (Oxford University Press)

Stephen FriedRush: Revolution, Madness, and Benjamin Rush, the Visionary Doctor Who Became a Founding Father (Crown)

Catherine KerrisonJefferson’s Daughters: Three Sisters, White and Black, in a Young America (Ballantine Books)

Joyce Lee MalcomThe Tragedy of Benedict Arnold: An American Life (Pegasus Books)

Nathaniel PhilbrickInto the Hurricane’s Eye: The Genius of George Washington and the Victory at Yorktown (Viking)

Russell ShortoRevolution Song: A Story of American Freedom (W.W. Norton & Company)

Peter StarkYoung Washington: How Wilderness and War Forged America’s Founding Father (Harper Collins Publishers)

The winner of the 2019 prize will be announced, and all finalists recognized, at a black-tie gala on October 24, 2019, at The Union League Club in New York City. More information about the George Washington Prize is available atwww.mountvernon.org/gwprize.

The Books in Brief

The Indian World of George Washington: The First President, the First Americans, and the Birth of the Nation

Colin Calloway tells the fascinating story of Washington’s lifelong engagement with Native America. The book paints a new and, at times, disturbing portrait of the nation’s first president as an untested militia officer on the banks of the Ohio, as a diplomat who gradually learned to work with Indians on their own terms and, during his final years, as a disappointed Indian land speculator. Unusual for a Washington biography, Shingas, Tanaghrisson, Cornplanter, Red Jacket, and Little Turtle, among many other native leaders, play leading roles in Calloway’s account. America’s first inhabitants, the book shows, were as central to the founding of the American republic as the nation’s first president.

Rush: Revolution, Madness, and Benjamin Rush, the Visionary Doctor Who Became a Founding Father

Benjamin Rush comes alive in Stephen’s Fried’s biography of this versatile, multi-talented founder. Fried captures Rush’s ambition to better the world by founding hospitals and asylums, calling for the abolition of slavery, and championing public education. As the Continental army’s surgeon general, Rush pushed to reform battlefield medicine during the Revolutionary War, and he played a key role in the creation of the United States’ political system. In Fried’s skillful hands, we learn about Rush’s life as a devoted husband and father, as well as his lasting legacy for so many areas of the early American Republic.

Jefferson’s Daughters: Three Sisters, White and Black, in a Young America

Catherine Kerrison tells the story of Thomas Jefferson’s three daughters, freeborn and enslaved. The first half focuses on the lives of Jefferson’s daughters by his wife, Martha Wayles Jefferson, while the second part chronicles the difficult and precarious life of his third daughter, Harriet, born to his slave, Sally Hemmings. Well documented and powerfully told, Kerrison’s book is as much an account of America’s mixed and often-troubled heritage as it is about three strong women fighting to define their own destinies in a new nation.

The Tragedy of Benedict Arnold: An American Life

Joyce Lee Malcolm writes a bracing account of America’s most famous traitor. Along with Arnold’s well-known frustrations as a Continental army officer, Malcolm recounts the story of his difficult childhood and his father’s descent into alcoholism and bankruptcy, which fed Arnold’s ambition as an adult. The book also takes a fresh look at Arnold’s lifelong hatred of France, dismissed by many scholars as a pretext for switching sides in 1780, but that Malcolm depicts as a genuine expression of attitudes that Arnold first acquired as a teenager in the Connecticut militia during the French and Indian War. Malcolm displays particular sensitivity in her treatment of the women in Arnold’s life: his heroic mother Hannah Waterman, his sister Hannah, and his second wife Peggy Shippen, whose life was destroyed by her husband’s treason.

Into the Hurricane’s Eye: The Genius of George Washington and the Victory at Yorktown

Nathaniel Philbrick’s page-turning narrative describes the last and greatest American victory of the Revolutionary War. Philbrick gives the various global players at Yorktown their due, including the young nation’s French allies, who had their own complicated politics and motives, and the defeated British, but the book’s central character is George Washington. The American general’s insights, leadership, and attentiveness to his allies were instrumental in forcing the British to surrender. So too, the book suggests, was a dose of good fortune. Philbrick sheds new light on the often-misunderstood battle that finally secured American independence.

Revolution Song: A Story of American Freedom

Russel Shorto studies the American struggle to define the meaning of individual freedom in his book that takes us to America’s founding and weaves together the stories of six individuals whose very lives test a philosophical idea through the force of action and sometimes violent change. From the story of an African who liberated himself and his family from American slavery, to the exploits of George Washington during and after the American revolt, Revolution Song is a wide-ranging, gripping history of a people trying to define what it means to be free.

Young Washington: How Wilderness and War Forged America’s Founding Father

Peter Stark recounts the drama of George Washington’s formative years during the 1750s fighting the French and their Indian allies in the Ohio Valley. Mortified by his initial encounter with a mixed-race French-Seneca officer in western Pennsylvania, Washington worked to master the ways of his European and native foes, and eventually, Starks shows, of the British soldiers, allied Indians, Tidewater gentry, frontier squatters, and imperial politicians whose help he needed if he was to realize his own ambitions. By the time he married Martha Dandridge Custis in 1759 and moved to Mount Vernon, Washington had perfected the chameleon-like ability to adapt to his surroundings that would define the rest of his storied career. The wilderness, Stark shows, is where Washington became the leader we remember today.

The Sponsors of the George Washington Prize

The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History
Founded in 1994 by visionaries and lifelong proponents of American history education Richard Gilder and Lewis E. Lehrman, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History is the leading American history nonprofit organization dedicated to K-12 education. With a focus on primary sources, the Gilder Lehrman Institute illuminates the stories, people and moments that inspire students of all ages and backgrounds to learn and understand more about history. Through a diverse portfolio of education programs, including the acclaimed Hamilton Education Program, the Gilder Lehrman Institute provides opportunities for nearly two million students, 30,000 teachers and 16,000 schools worldwide. Learn more at gilderlehrman.org

George Washington’s Mount Vernon
Since 1860, more than 85 million visitors have made George Washington’s Mount Vernon the most popular historic home in America. Through thought-provoking tours, entertaining events, and stimulating educational programs on the estate and in classrooms across the nation, Mount Vernon strives to preserve George Washington’s place in history as “First in War, First in Peace, and First in the Hearts of His Countrymen.” Mount Vernon is owned and operated by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, America’s oldest national preservation organization, founded in 1853. In 2013, Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association opened the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington, which safeguards original books and manuscripts and serves as a center for research, scholarship, and leadership development.  Learn more at mountvernon.org

Washington College
Washington College was founded in 1782 as the first institution of higher learning established in the new republic. George Washington was not only a principal donor to the college, but also a member of its original governing board. He received an honorary degree from the college in June 1789, two months after assuming the presidency. The College’s Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience explores the American experience in all its diversity and complexity, seeks creative approaches to illuminating the past, and inspires thoughtful conversation informed by history. Learn more at www.washcoll.edu.

Wilderness First Responder Training Offered at Washington College This Summer

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Wilderness First Responder, the definitive wilderness course in medical training, leadership, and critical thinking for professionals and leaders working in outdoor education and low-resource and remote areas, will be offered this summer at Washington College.

The course, administered by Wilderness Medical Associates International and hosted by Washington College, will be held Sunday July 21 through Saturday July 27. Upon successful completion, students will receive a Wilderness First Responder certification and certification of BLS/HPL CPR, valid for three years.

Wilderness First Responder (WFR, pronounced “woofer”) is the ideal medical training for leaders in remote areas including outdoor educators, guides, military, professional search and rescue teams, researchers, and those involved in disaster relief. The curriculum is comprehensive and practical. It includes the essential principles and skills required to assess and manage medical problems in isolated and extreme environments for days and weeks if necessary. Written by a team of medical rescue researchers and professionals, the curriculum is comprehensive, complete, and annually updated, making it the most current and cutting-edge course of any first response medical training (urban or remote) in the world.

The comprehensive training includes:

– The General Principles of Wilderness and Rescue Medicine with an emphasis on the prevention and identification of medical emergencies, appropriate technology, and risk management.
– Patient assessment and emergency care including CPR, Basic Life Support, and the emergency treatment of anaphylaxis and asthma.
– Environmental Medicine including altitude illness, hypothermia and heat illness, frostbite and cold injury, lightning, submersion, and environmental toxins.
– Backcountry Medicine including the assessment and treatment of common medical problems.
– Musculoskeletal Problems including unstable and stable injuries overuse syndromes, and dislocations.
– Wound management including open fractures, lacerations, burns, and blisters.
– Practical skills including splinting, bandaging, litter packaging and medical kit preparation.
– WMA International Wilderness Protocols including wound cleaning and exploration, spine injury assessment, dislocation reduction, BLS/HPL CPR in the remote setting, and anaphylaxis and asthma.

Cost is $725 tuition for the week. Housing is available on-site at Washington College for an additional $120 for the week.

To register click here:  http://bit.ly/WACWFR2019

Or contact Benjamin Ford at bford2@washcoll.edu for more information.

Thad Bench of Benchworks Appointed to Washington College Board

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Thad Bench, CEO of the Chestertown-based international marketing and branding firm Benchworks, will be the newest member of Washington College’s Board of Visitors and Governors. Bench was nominated in May to Governor Larry Hogan for designation to one of the 12 governor-appointed seats on the 36-member board.

Bench, whose daughter Morgan graduated Washington College in 2018 with a double major in environmental studies and art and art history, has had a long relationship with the College, with many of its students getting hands-on experience as interns at Benchworks and alums signing on as full time employees, including Melissa Johnston ’98, Benchworks’ president.

As CEO of Benchworks, Inc., a family of companies that specializes in the health care and pharmaceutical industry, Bench is a seasoned executive with extensive experience in marketing, brand positioning, and product launch management. Under his leadership, Benchworks has grown sixfold since 2014 and has been named to the Inc. 5000 list of America’s fastest-growing private companies for the last four years.

Bench was named one of the 2016 ELITE 100 in the Entrepreneur category by PM360 magazine, an honor given to the 100 most influential people in the health care industry. He has managed hundreds of large-scale marketing initiatives for Fortune 500 companies with a particular emphasis in the pharmaceutical industry, including nine product launches. He has owned and continues to own a number of closely held family businesses, including manufacturing and distribution operations and commercial real estate holdings.

Bench graduated from Elmira College in 1984 and lives with his wife Renee in Chestertown.

Maryland Funds Washington College’s Natural Land Project

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Washington College’s Natural Lands Project (NLP), which is providing Eastern Shore landowners an innovative option for restoring wildlife habitat and improving water quality in the Chesapeake Bay, has earned a state grant of more than $535,000 to transform 200 acres of the Conquest Beach Preserve in Queen Anne’s County.

Partnering with Queen Anne’s County Department of Parks and Recreation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Partners for Fish and Wildlife program, the NLP will create 125 acres of meadows, 38 acres of wetlands, and 38 acres of forest within the preserve, which lies between the Corsica and Chester rivers. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources Natural Filters Program is providing $536,319 for the project, bringing to nearly $2 million to date total federal and state funding for NLP projects, says Dan Small, a field ecologist and coordinator of the NLP, which is managed by the College’s Center for Environment & Society (CES).

“This is the second project we have done on public land. The first was an 83-acre grassland we completed last year at the Sassafras Natural Resources Management Area,” Small says. “Working on public land is especially exciting because it gives us the ability to create large projects, which are really important for grassland birds, and also an opportunity to educate the public about the importance of these habitats for the wildlife that depends on them.

“The Conquest Preserve’s location between two rivers is also significant,” Small says. “While we’re going to be creating habitat to support native species like bobwhite quail, we’re also going to see fantastic benefits to water quality thanks to the buffering and filtering capacity of these habitats.”

A monarch butterfly in an NLP meadow in Betterton, Maryland

CES estimates that the new project at Conquest will remove nearly 43,000 pounds of sediment and 1,100 pounds of nitrogen from both watersheds annually. It will also provide critical habitat for pollinators and bird species including a variety of waterfowl and potentially the black rail, an elusive marsh bird that is in danger of extirpation in Maryland.

Conquest Preserve has 3.2 miles of waterfront along the Chester River and is a popular spot among local birders and boaters. The NLP project is inland of the beach area and will include broad meadows planted in native warm-season grasses and flowers to support pollinator and bird populations, as well as areas of native trees and shrubs. Public walking paths will be incorporated throughout.

“The ability to work in partnership with Washington College and its exceptional staff to achieve the objectives of the county’s master plan for Conquest Preserve is the best case in trying to balance the recreational needs of our community with the protection of natural resources and sensitive lands,” says Nancy E. Scozzari, Chief of Parks and Resource Planning for the county Department of Parks and Recreation. “This project development will provide acres of habitat, ensure protection of natural resources, and provide the public passive recreational opportunities unlike those found elsewhere in Queen Anne’s County.”

Originating from the wildlife and habitat management on Washington College’s 4,700-acre River and Field Campus to help restore bobwhite quail to the region, the Natural Lands Project was launched in 2015. The project has steadily gained momentum as landowners and public entities have seen the benefits of taking marginal cropland and converting it to wildlife habitat. Since its inception, the NLP has created 540 acres of upland meadows and 49 acres of wetlands on 36 private properties in Kent, Queen Anne’s, and Talbot counties. On public land, so far the NLP has received funding to create 208 acres of upland meadows, 38 acres of wetlands, and 83 acres of trees and forestation.

In total, CES estimates that when this latest project is completed, all of the NLP sites combined will remove annually 12,042 pounds of nitrogen, 619 pounds of phosphorous, and 228,696 pounds of sediment from the Bay’s tributaries.

Collaborators with Washington College on these projects include ShoreRivers, Maryland State Parks, the Queen Anne’s County Department of Parks and Recreation, Partners for Fish and Wildlife, Ducks Unlimited, Tall Timbers Research Station, the state Department of Natural Resources, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF).

Mid-Shore Education: In Search of a Different Kind of Diversity with WC’s Danitha Isma

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A few weeks ago, the Spy profiled a few graduating high school seniors who had participated in the Talbot Mentors program. Three out of the five we interviewed had made the decision that they would be enrolling in what is known as Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU).

Their reason was simple. While they had benefited greatly from their public school education, it lacked one thing they were all looking for; a setting where the majority of students were young people of color.

So it was interesting when we sat down with Danitha Isma, a rising senior at Washington College, who had received her high school education in some of the most diverse and urban schools in the country, that she desired the complete opposite experience as a undergraduate. A native of Atlanta, and now with Miami as her hometown, Danitha specifically sought out this small, rural liberal arts college to understand a culture significantly different from her high school years.

In our interview, the physics major also talks about her experience with Chestertown outside of her academic life and how she grew to love its “small is beautiful” lifestyle.

This video is approximately five minutes in length. For more information about Washington College please go here.

Washington College to Offer New Program WC Adventures

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Come explore with Washington College! One of the greatest things about WC is the out-of-the-classroom learning experiences. But why should the students have all of the fun? Washington College has started a new program offering experiential learning and travel experiences for the community. Sessions for 2019 include trips to Cuba and Germany/Austria and a mini local session that includes sailing on the Sultana and experiencing the Eastern Shore Food Lab. Programming for 2020 is in the works with trips to Costa Rica and Northern Ireland already confirmed.

WC Adventures programs are open to the entire Washington College community (alumni, parents, friends, staff/faculty, spouses, kids, neighbors, community members…but maybe not your pet turtle).

Find an upcoming program that sparks your interest and join WC on an adventure!

Click here for more information about WC Adventures.

Delaware Supreme Court Chief Justice at WC Commencement

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Delaware Supreme Court Chief Justice Leo E. Strine, Jr.

Delaware Supreme Court Chief Justice Leo E. Strine, Jr., whom Business Insider has called “one of the most influential behind-the-scenes figures in American business,” will be the speaker at Washington College’s 286th Commencement on May 19th. Strine, who became chief justice of Delaware’s highest court in 2014, will receive the honorary degree Doctor of Laws.

Known for his forthright outspokenness and rapier wit, Strine is “about the closest thing to a celebrity in the buttoned-up world of corporate law,” according to The Wall Street Journal. His opinions “are considered among the most influential rulings in corporate law,” says The New York Times.

Before becoming the eighth chief justice of Delaware’s Supreme Court, Strine, at 34 years old, was one of the youngest judges ever to sit on the Delaware Court of Chancery, becoming Vice Chancellor since 1998. In each of these positions, he has issued some of the most influential decisions affecting corporate law in the nation, because more than half of publicly traded U.S. companies—among them 66.8 percent of the Fortune 500—are incorporated in Delaware.

As chief justice, Strine has emphasized the need to address persistent racial inequality and to provide more equitable access to justice for all Delawareans, regardless of wealth. Among his many decisions as chief justice, Strine authored the decision striking down Delaware’s death penalty statute because it denied defendants the right to have their fate determined by a jury.

Strine holds long-standing teaching positions at Harvard and University of Pennsylvania, where he teaches classes in corporate law addressing, among other topics, mergers and acquisitions, the role of independent directors, valuation, and corporate law theories. He also serves as a Senior Fellow of the Harvard Program on Corporate Governance, as well as acting as an advisor to Penn’s Institute for Law & Economics.

He speaks and writes frequently on the subject of corporate law, and his articles have been published in The University of Chicago Law ReviewColumbia Law ReviewHarvard Law Review, and Stanford Law Review, among others. Before joining the court, Strine served as counsel and policy director to former Delaware Governor Thomas R. Carper, who awarded him the Order of the First State in 2000. In 2006, he was selected as a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute.

Washington College’s 286th Commencement will be held on Sunday, May 19, 2019, at 10:30 a.m. on the campus green, weather permitting. If outdoors, it is free and open to the public. If inclement weather drives the ceremony into the Johnson Fitness Center Field House, admittance is by ticket only. Each graduate is given nine tickets to distribute to family and friends.

Barry Glassman ’84, County Executive of Harford County, Maryland, and Carolyn Choate-Turnbull ’80 P’15, a retired television producer and breast cancer survivor, activist, and advocate, will receive Alumni Citations for Excellence in their fields during Commencement ceremonies.

The event will also be livestreamed here: https://www.washcoll.edu/offices/digital-media-services/live/

About Washington College

Founded in 1782, Washington College is the tenth oldest college in the nation and the first chartered under the new Republic. It enrolls approximately 1,450 undergraduates from more than 39 states and territories and 25 nations. With an emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning in the arts and sciences, and more than 40 multidisciplinary areas of study, the College is home to nationally recognized academic centers in the environment, history, and writing. Learn more at washcoll.edu.

WC to Host Meet and Greet Event Featuring Justice Leo Strine, Jr.

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Washington College is hosting a meet and greet event featuring Justice Leo Strine, Jr. on Saturday, April 27th at 4pm in Hynson Lounge. It truly is a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet the Chief Justice of the Delaware Supreme court. He will be making some remarks and there will be a networking opportunity afterwards.

There will also be 25 special law affiliated alumni, faculty members and Board members scheduled to attend including Joe Getty, who is a judge on the Maryland Court of Appeals. Getty was appointed to that court in 2016, by Governor Larry Hogan. He is a former state senator and delegate, where he represented Maryland’s 5th district.

Here is the event invitation on the WC site:

https://www.washcoll.edu/live/events/21584-meet-and-greet-the-honorable-leo-strine-jr

And more information about Leo Strine:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leo_E._Strine_Jr.

This event is free and open to the public. We hope you can join us!

Washington Rarities on Display at Miller Library

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Physician’s scales used by Washington’s personal doctor

Washington College’s Miller Library is hosting a special exhibit of items related to George Washington this weekend. The exhibit, in the Sophie Kerr rare books room on the library’s second floor, is a special feature for Admitted Students day, Saturday, April 13. However, the general public may get a special preview of the exhibit on Thursday, April 11, 1 to 3 p.m. and Friday, April 12, from 11 a.m. 1 p.m.

The exhibit has drawn rare books and other items from the college’s archives to give a historic portrait of the college’s long relationship with its benefactor and namesake. Anyone interested in Colonial history, and its resonance through the two centuries since Washington’s death, should make it a point to visit this exhibit.

Jennifer Nesbitt, the administrative assistant at Miller Library, gave your Spy reporter a tour of the exhibits, pointing out items of particular interest. While many of the objects are special, perhaps the prize of the collection is a set of physician’s scales used by Dr. Elisha Cullen Dick, who attended Washington on his deathbed. They were donated to the college by Dick’s great-grandson, James Alfred Pearce Crisfield.

Another unique item is Alexander Hamilton’s personal copy of Washington’s A Message from the President of the United States to Congress, with Hamilton’s handwritten signature on the title page.

Alexander Hamilton’s copy of a published address by Washington

But these items just scratch the surface of the exhibit, which includes not only rare and historic books, but a Victorian needlework portrait of Washington, copied from the Gilbert Stuart portrait, and a bust of Washington made from Confederate paper money after the Civil War. And there is a commemorative linen handkerchief from 1806, with quotations from Washington’s farewell speech. Commemorative handkerchiefs were popular after American Independence, on account of British colonial policies that forbade colonists from manufacturing cloth items. This policy was designed to support British manufacturers at the expense of the colonies, so after the American Revolution, locally produced cloth became an important industry and symbol of political and economic independence. Handkerchiefs like this one were made and sold as souvenirs and keepsakes.

A Victorian needlework copy of the Gilbert Stuart portrait of Washington

Nesbitt said the college plans to bring out other items from its special collections for public viewing on a regular basis. It’s a good reminder just how special the college’s collections are, and what a great resource they are for the Chestertown community.

A commemorative handkerchief from 1806 with quotes from Washingtons Farewell Address

All photos from George Washington Exhibit, unless otherwise noted, are by Peter Heck.

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