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Lecture with Dr. Matthew Costello: The Property of the Nation

1112 River Road, Washington Crossing, PA 18977

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In partnership with the Friends of Washington Crossing Park Dr. Matthew Costello, senior historian of the White House Historical Association, will give a free lecture in Washington Crossing Historic Park's Visitor Center auditorium on Sunday, October 17 at 1:30 PM. This event will be held virtually via Zoom, NOT in-person.

Costello's lecture will focus on his 2019 book, The Property of the Nation: George Washington's Tomb, Mount Vernon and the Memory of the First President, which was a 2020 George Washington Prize Finalist.

The lecture is free, but registration is required online. 

About the Book

Costello's book explores the evolution of George Washington's legacy during the early Republic by focusing on his tomb at Mount Vernon. His lecture will discuss:

  • The efforts to move Washington's remains elsewhere for political reasons
  • How the Washington family and enslaved storytellers profited from historical tourism
  • The creation of Mount Vernon as a "sacred space" ripe for pilgrimage
  • The process of transforming Washington from a symbol of republicanism into an icon of democracy
  • The triumph of the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association, who saved the estate and made themselves the legal guardians of Washington's legacy

About the Author

Matthew Costello is the Vice President of the David M. Rubenstein National Center for White House History and a Senior Historian for the White House Historical Association.

Costello completed his Ph.D. and M.A. in American history at Marquette University. He received his B.A. in history and political science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

He previously worked on the George Washington Bibliography Project for the George Washington Papers at the University of Virginia. He has received research fellowships from Marquette University, the Virginia Historical Society, the United States Capitol Historical Society, and the Fred W. Smith National Library at Mount Vernon. He has published articles in The Journal of History and CulturesEssays in HistoryThe Dome, and White House History.

His book, The Property of the Nation: George Washington’s Tomb, Mount Vernon, and the Memory of the First President was published by University Press of Kansas in fall 2019 and was a finalist for the George Washington Book Prize.

Matthew also teaches a course on White House history at American University.

Sunday, October 17, 2021 1:30pm