President Scrimshaw Donates Letter from George Washington
Albany, NY – Susan Scrimshaw, president of The Sage Colleges in Albany and Troy, NY, has donated a letter written by our nation’s first president, George Washington, to American Revolutionary General Benjamin Lincoln – a direct ancestor of Scrimshaw’s – to the Massachusetts Historical Society (MHS).
The letter, written in 1785, was passed down through the women in her family for eight generations, mostly hidden in closets or drawers but taken out and admired for special occasions. Scrimshaw realized the letter should be cared for professionally and accessible to scholars. After careful research and consultation with her parents and siblings, she chose to donate it to the Boston-based MHS, which houses the papers of General Lincoln, who served with Washington in the Continental Army and was the first secretary of war under the Articles of Confederation.
In the letter, Washington provided news of recent legislation in the assemblies of Virginia and Maryland regarding efforts to make the Potomac navigable. Washington was instrumental in getting legislation passed that led to the formation of the Potomac Company. He also thanks Lincoln for “two cheese’s, & a barrel (wrote thereon Major rice) of Cranberries.” The correspondence can also be found in The Papers of George Washington from a letterbook copy at the Library of Congress.
Scrimshaw gifted the letter in memory of her grandmother, Clara Crosby Ware Goodrich. “I feel relieved that the responsibility for the stewardship of a piece of our history is now in competent professional hands,” she said. “In addition, I found the Society a treasure trove of information on my New England ancestors. I know my grandmother would be pleased as well to know that future generations will have access to this letter, no longer a family secret.”
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