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How tall was George Washington?

How tall was George Washington?


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I am currently reading George Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow, which says George Washington was an even 6 feet (183cm) tall:

It is commonly said that Washington stood six foot two or three, an estimate that gained currency after a doctor measured his corpse at six feet three and a half inches… There is no need for any guesswork. Before the Revolutionary War, Washington ordered clothes from London each year and had to describe his measurements with great accuracy. In a 1761 letter, he informed his remote taylor that "my stature is six feet, otherwise rather slender than corpulent," and he never deviated from that formula. Obviously Washington couldn't afford to tell a fib about his height to his tailor. One can only surmise that when the doctor measured his cadaver, his toes were pointing outward, padding his height by several inches compared with his everyday stature. (page 29).

But a few months ago I read His Excellency: George Washington by Joseph J. Ellis, which contradicts this, saying Washington was at least 6'2" (188cm):

His coats, shirts, pants, and shoes were all ordered from a London tailor, but they invariably did not fit. He complained that "my Cloaths have never fitted me well," but the reason for the persistent problem was that the instructions he customarily gave his tailor were misleading. For example, when ordering an overcoat he directed the tailor to "make it to fit a person Six feet high and proportionally made, & you cannot go much amiss." But Washington was at least two inches taller than six feet and disproportionately made, with very broad shoulders and huge hips. (chapter 2)

The two historians clearly use some of the same evidence (orders to London), but draw distinctly different conclusions.

What evidence do we have to support either the claim that George Washington was 6'0" (183cm), or 6'2"-6'3" (188-191cm) in height? I'm assuming there is no consensus among historians, so I'm interested in an overview of the main points in favor of both views.


I know it is a pretty short answer, but the very scientically correct "Wolfram Alpha" says "1m88"…

See for yourself

There is also a list of sources on this matter on Wikipedia there.

But the best documented answer on the Internet seems to be here .

When he was 27, a fellow member of the Virginia House of Burgesses described him as "straight as an Indian, measuring 6'2" in his stockings and weighing 175 1bs." This estimate may have been conservative: After Washington's death, his private secretary claimed that he measured the body and found it to be 6' 3 1/2" tall.


I think Douglas S. Freeman wrote in Washington, the abridgment of his multi volume pulitzer prize winning work, that Washington was 6'2" and 209.


The answer may rest with the statue of Washington that was sculpted by Houdan and stands in the Virginia state capital. The sculptor visited Washington at Mount Vernon and carefully measured him so that his work would be as accurate as it could be. The statue of Washington himself stands at 6'2 1/2 inches, but it must be noted that Washington's knees are bent. Supposedly somebody measured the space between the bent knees and it came out at about half an inch. So straighten the knees out and the statue stands at about 6'3". So it would seem that Washington's real height was most likely somewhere from 6'2 1/2 inches and 6'3".


I don't have the sources in front of me, but I have read letters from John Adams and Thomas Jefferson suggesting that George Washington was the tallest of the three. Jefferson commented on being slightly shorter than GW, and Adams said they both towered over him so who would notice him in an election for President, but he also implied that GW was the tallest of the three.


Washington Monument

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Washington Monument, obelisk in Washington, D.C., honouring George Washington, the first president of the United States. Constructed of granite faced with Maryland marble, the structure is 55 feet (16.8 metres) square at the base and 554 feet 7 inches (169 metres) high and weighs an estimated 91,000 tons. (The monument’s height was previously measured as 555 feet 5 inches [169.3 metres], but a recalculation based on international standards in 2014 led to its revision.) The shaft’s load-bearing masonry walls are 15 feet (4.6 metres) thick at its base, tapering to a thickness of only 18 inches (46 cm) at the top. At its completion in 1884 it was the world’s tallest man-made structure, though it was supplanted by the Eiffel Tower just five years later. It remains the world’s tallest masonry structure.

A monument to Washington was first proposed in 1783, when the Continental Congress appropriated funds to erect a statue of the country’s military commander on horseback. The site eventually chosen for the statue—the exact surveyed centre of the original District of Columbia, on direct axes with the White House (to the north) and the United States Capitol (to the west)—was intentionally reserved for such a grand monument by Pierre-Charles L’Enfant when he designed the city in 1791. In 1804 President Thomas Jefferson drove a stone marker into the proposed site, though it later sank into the marsh. Because of various problems, including bureaucratic inertia, the project was soon abandoned.

Celebrations of the centenary of Washington’s birth rekindled interest in a monument. In 1833 the Washington National Monument Society, chartered to select a design for an appropriate memorial to the first president, chose a plan by Robert Mills for a 600-foot- (183-metre-) tall obelisk with a circular base complete with 30 Doric columns. The sheer weight of the proposed monument required moving the site from the location specified in L’Enfant’s design to a point 350 feet (110 metres) to the northeast, thereby slightly disrupting the axial relationship to the other buildings. It was hoped that Washington’s remains would eventually be moved from their burial location at Mount Vernon in Virginia and reinterred at the memorial.

Construction did not begin until 1848, and the cornerstone was laid during ceremonies on the Fourth of July. In attendance were George Washington Parke Custis, Washington’s step-grandson, as well as President James K. Polk and Congressman Abraham Lincoln. Financial and political difficulties plagued the project from the start and led to major architectural modifications, including the abandonment of the structure’s grandiose base. Memorial stones for the interior were contributed by various states and numerous fraternal organizations. Pope Pius IX donated a stone from the Temple of Concord in Rome (though in 1854 members of the anti-Catholic Know-Nothing party broke into the obelisk, stole the marker, and disposed of it in the Potomac River). Construction was halted at the outbreak of the Civil War with the obelisk standing only 152 feet (46 metres) tall. Mark Twain, who viewed the unfinished structure after the war, wrote that the monument

has the aspect of a factory chimney with the top broken off…you can see cow-sheds about its base, and the contented sheep nibbling pebbles in the desert solitudes that surround it, and the tired pigs dozing in the holy calm of its protecting shadow.

After some preliminary discussion about tearing down the unfinished structure or changing its design, the Army Corps of Engineers assumed responsibility for its completion. Because it was impossible to find marble matching that used to construct the earlier portion, the colour of the upper two-thirds of the monument is visibly different from that of the lower third. Finally, some 36 years after construction began, the 3,300-pound (1,500 kg) capstone was set on the structure (December 6, 1884), and the Washington Monument was officially dedicated by President Chester Arthur during ceremonies on February 21, 1885. However, the monument was not opened to the public until October 9, 1888, following the installation of a steam elevator, which enabled visitors to reach the observation deck without walking up the monument’s 897 steps. The modern elevator makes the ascent in about 60 seconds. Inserted in the interior walls are more than 190 carved stones presented by various individuals, cities, states, and foreign nations.


How tall was George Washington?

He was six feet, two inches tall by some reports, but there is some question about his true height, as follows:

George Washington was measured for his clothing at 74 inches in height, or 6'2". Though, in his correspondences with merchants he often complained that his clothes were too small . After his death, he was measured at 6'3" and 1/2 inches tall in his stocking feet.

Ron Chernow, in his book Washington-A life, claims Washington is 6' even. He bases this assumption on orders Washington placed for clothing in which Washington asks for clothing," for a man of 6 feet high." However, further reading of Washington's papers will reveal that he never seems satisfied with his clothing and constantly complains that the legs are too short.

Perhaps the best way to accuratly attain Washington's true hight is if one looks at the statue made of George Washington by Jean-Antoine Houdan. One can use the statue's dimensions to attain a measurement of Washington's height at over 6' 3". Washington requested that Houdan make his statue life-sized, rather than larger than life. Houdan spent two weeks with Washington and made a series of very exact measurements which were all subsequently lost in a fire. However, the Statue remains, and was used by Mount Vernon in 2006 as one element to forensically reconstruct Washington's likeness in wax.

In addition, we know Thomas Jefferson to be 6' 2" and 1/2" tall, and George Washington was known to be (a little) taller than Jefferson.

Benjamin Franklin said, (who himself was 6 feet tall) of Washington, "We always choose him to lead us because he was always the tallest man in the room"


How tall was George Washington? - History

Please note: The audio information from the video is included in the text below.


Portrait of George Washington
Author: Gilbert Stuart

George Washington was the First President of the United States.

Served as President: 1789-1797
Vice President: John Adams
Party: Federalist
Age at inauguration: 57

Born: February 22, 1732 in Westmoreland County, Virginia
Died: December 14, 1799 in Mount Vernon, Virginia

Married: Martha Dandridge Washington
Children: none (2 stepchildren)
Nickname: Father of His Country

What is George Washington most known for?

One of the most popular Presidents of the United States, George Washington is known for leading the Continental Army in victory over the British in the American Revolution. He also was the first President of the United States and helped to define what the role of the president would be going forward.


Crossing the Delaware River by Emanuel Leutze

George grew up in Colonial Virginia. His father, a landowner and planter, died when George was just 11 years old. Fortunately, George had an older brother named Lawrence who took good care of him. Lawrence helped to raise George and taught him how to be a gentleman. Lawrence made sure that he was educated in the basic subjects like reading and math.

When George turned 16 he went to work as a surveyor, where he took measurements of new lands, mapping them out in detail. A few years later George became a leader with the Virginia militia and became involved in the start of the French and Indian War. At one point during the war, he narrowly escaped death when his horse was shot out from under him.

Before the Revolution

After the French and Indian War George settled down and married the widow Martha Dandridge Custis. He took over the estate of Mount Vernon after his brother Lawrence died and raised Martha's two children from her former marriage. George and Martha never had kids of their own. George became a large landowner and was elected to the Virginian legislature.

Soon George and his fellow landowners became upset with unfair treatment by their British rulers. They began to argue and fight for their rights. When the British refused they decided to go to war.


Mount Vernon was where George and Martha Washington lived
for several years. It was located in Virginia on the Potomac River.

Source: National Parks Service

The American Revolution and Leading the Army

George was one of Virginia's delegates at the First and Second Continental Congress. This was a group of representatives from each colony who decided to fight the British together. In May of 1775 they appointed Washington as general of the Continental Army.

General Washington did not have an easy task. He had a ragtag army of colonial farmers to fight trained British soldiers. However, he managed to hold the army together even during tough times and losing battles. Over the course of six years George led the army to victory over the British. His victories include the famous crossing of the Delaware River on Christmas and the final victory at Yorktown, Virginia. The British Army surrendered in Yorktown on October 17, 1781.

Washington's Presidency

The two terms that Washington served as president were peaceful times. During this time, George established many roles and traditions of the President of the United States that still stand today. He helped build and guide the formation of the actual US Government from the words of the Constitution. He formed the first presidential cabinet which included his friends Thomas Jefferson (Secretary of State) and Alexander Hamilton (Secretary of the Treasury).

George stepped down from the presidency after 8 years, or two terms. He felt it was important that the president not become powerful or rule too long, like a king. Since then only one president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, has served more than two terms.


The Washington Monument in Washington, D.C.
Photo by Ducksters

Just a few years after leaving the office of president, Washington caught a bad cold. He was soon very sick with a throat infection and died on December 14, 1799.


Childhood and youth

Little is known of George Washington’s early childhood, spent largely on the Ferry Farm on the Rappahannock River, opposite Fredericksburg, Virginia. Mason L. Weems’s stories of the hatchet and cherry tree and of young Washington’s repugnance to fighting are apocryphal efforts to fill a manifest gap. He attended school irregularly from his 7th to his 15th year, first with the local church sexton and later with a schoolmaster named Williams. Some of his schoolboy papers survive. He was fairly well trained in practical mathematics—gauging, several types of mensuration, and such trigonometry as was useful in surveying. He studied geography, possibly had a little Latin, and certainly read some of The Spectator and other English classics. The copybook in which he transcribed at 14 a set of moral precepts, or Rules of Civility and Decent Behaviour in Company and Conversation, was carefully preserved. His best training, however, was given him by practical men and outdoor occupations, not by books. He mastered tobacco growing and stock raising, and early in his teens he was sufficiently familiar with surveying to plot the fields about him.

At his father’s death, the 11-year-old boy became the ward of his half brother Lawrence, a man of fine character who gave him wise and affectionate care. Lawrence inherited the beautiful estate of Little Hunting Creek, which had been granted to the original settler, John Washington, and which Augustine had done much since 1738 to develop. Lawrence married Anne (Nancy) Fairfax, daughter of Col. William Fairfax, a cousin and agent of Lord Fairfax and one of the chief proprietors of the region. Lawrence also built a house and named the 2,500-acre (1,000-hectare) holding Mount Vernon in honour of the admiral under whom he had served in the siege of Cartagena. Living there chiefly with Lawrence (though he spent some time near Fredericksburg with his other half brother, Augustine, called Austin), George entered a more spacious and polite world. Anne Fairfax Washington was a woman of charm, grace, and culture Lawrence had brought from his English school and naval service much knowledge and experience. A valued neighbour and relative, George William Fairfax, whose large estate, Belvoir, was about 4 miles (6 km) distant, and other relatives by marriage, the Carlyles of Alexandria, helped form George’s mind and manners.

The youth turned first to surveying as a profession. Lord Fairfax, a middle-aged bachelor who owned more than 5,000,000 acres (2,000,000 hectares) in northern Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley, came to America in 1746 to live with his cousin George William at Belvoir and to look after his properties. Two years later he sent to the Shenandoah Valley a party to survey and plot his lands to make regular tenants of the squatters moving in from Pennsylvania. With the official surveyor of Prince William county in charge, Washington went along as assistant. The 16-year-old lad kept a disjointed diary of the trip, which shows skill in observation. He describes the discomfort of sleeping under “one thread Bear blanket with double its Weight of Vermin such as Lice Fleas & c” an encounter with an Indian war party bearing a scalp the Pennsylvania-German emigrants, “as ignorant a set of people as the Indians they would never speak English but when spoken to they speak all Dutch” and the serving of roast wild turkey on “a Large Chip,” for “as for dishes we had none.”

The following year (1749), aided by Lord Fairfax, Washington received an appointment as official surveyor of Culpeper county, and for more than two years he was kept almost constantly busy. Surveying not only in Culpeper but also in Frederick and Augusta counties, he made journeys far beyond the Tidewater region into the western wilderness. The experience taught him resourcefulness and endurance and toughened him in both body and mind. Coupled with Lawrence’s ventures in land, it also gave him an interest in western development that endured throughout his life. He was always disposed to speculate in western holdings and to view favourably projects for colonizing the West, and he greatly resented the limitations that the crown in time laid on the westward movement. In 1752 Lord Fairfax determined to take up his final residence in the Shenandoah Valley and settled there in a log hunting lodge, which he called Greenway Court after a Kentish manor of his family’s. There Washington was sometimes entertained and had access to a small library that Fairfax had begun accumulating at Oxford.

The years 1751–52 marked a turning point in Washington’s life, for they placed him in control of Mount Vernon. Lawrence, stricken by tuberculosis, went to Barbados in 1751 for his health, taking George along. From this sole journey beyond the present borders of the United States, Washington returned with the light scars of an attack of smallpox. In July of the next year, Lawrence died, making George executor and residuary heir of his estate should his daughter, Sarah, die without issue. As she died within two months, Washington at age 20 became head of one of the best Virginia estates. He always thought farming the “most delectable” of pursuits. “It is honorable,” he wrote, “it is amusing, and, with superior judgment, it is profitable.” And, of all the spots for farming, he thought Mount Vernon the best. “No estate in United America,” he assured an English correspondent, “is more pleasantly situated than this.” His greatest pride in later days was to be regarded as the first farmer of the land.

He gradually increased the estate until it exceeded 8,000 acres (3,000 hectares). He enlarged the house in 1760 and made further enlargements and improvements on the house and its landscaping in 1784–86. He also tried to keep abreast of the latest scientific advances.

For the next 20 years the main background of Washington’s life was the work and society of Mount Vernon. He gave assiduous attention to the rotation of crops, fertilization of the soil, and the management of livestock. He had to manage the 18 slaves that came with the estate and others he bought later by 1760 he had paid taxes on 49 slaves—though he strongly disapproved of the institution and hoped for some mode of abolishing it. At the time of his death, more than 300 slaves were housed in the quarters on his property. He had been unwilling to sell slaves lest families be broken up, even though the increase in their numbers placed a burden on him for their upkeep and gave him a larger force of workers than he required, especially after he gave up the cultivation of tobacco. In his will, he bequeathed the slaves in his possession to his wife and ordered that upon her death they be set free, declaring also that the young, the aged, and the infirm among them “shall be comfortably cloathed & fed by my heirs.” Still, this accounted for only about half the slaves on his property. The other half, owned by his wife, were entailed to the Custis estate, so that on her death they were destined to pass to her heirs. However, she freed all the slaves in 1800 after his death.

For diversion Washington was fond of riding, fox hunting, and dancing, of such theatrical performances as he could reach, and of duck hunting and sturgeon fishing. He liked billiards and cards and not only subscribed to racing associations but also ran his own horses in races. In all outdoor pursuits, from wrestling to colt breaking, he excelled. A friend of the 1750s describes him as “straight as an Indian, measuring six feet two inches in his stockings” as very muscular and broad-shouldered but, though large-boned, weighing only 175 pounds and as having long arms and legs. His penetrating blue-gray eyes were overhung by heavy brows, his nose was large and straight, and his mouth was large and firmly closed. “His movements and gestures are graceful, his walk majestic, and he is a splendid horseman.” He soon became prominent in community affairs, was an active member and later vestryman of the Episcopal church, and as early as 1755 expressed a desire to stand for the Virginia House of Burgesses.


George Floyd case: Family, friends describe him as 'gentle giant' looking for a new life

George Floyd's family is now represented by well-known civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump Mike Tobin reports from Minneapolis.

Moving to Minneapolis was supposed to be George Floyd's second chance at living a good life.

The native Texan followed some friends there about five years ago and landed a job working security at a Salvation Army store downtown.

Soon thereafter, he had picked up two others gigs: one driving trucks and another as a bouncer at Conga Latin Bistro where he was affectionately known as "Big Floyd."

But like so many other Americans, Floyd lost his job in the service industry when the coronavirus pandemic hit and a stay-at-home order was issued.

Fast forward a few weeks and Floyd, who has been accused of trying to pass a counterfeit $20 bill Monday night, was videotaped pinned on the ground by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chavin and struggled for air and begged for his life.

His death resulted in the swift dismissal of Chavin and three other officers involved in the incident: Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng.

It also forced leaders in Minneapolis to take a hard look at how its people are policed.

Protests began late Wednesday and went into Thursday. Although most protests were peaceful, looting was reported, more than a dozen buildings were torched, and one man was shot.

On Thursday, Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arrandondo acknowledged that his department contributed to the so-called "deficit of hope" that has plagued the city well before Floyd's death but said urged unruly demonstrators to stay home.

Floyd's death has not only rocked Minneapolis but has led to protests in other cities including Memphis and Los Angeles.

Floyd, 46, grew up in Houston’s Third Ward, one of the city’s predominantly black neighborhoods. At 6 feet, 6 inches, Floyd emerged as a star tight end for Jack Yates High School and played in the 1992 state championship game in the Houston Astrodome. Yates lost to Temple, 38-20.

Donnell Cooper, one of Floyd’s former classmates, said he remembered watching Floyd score touchdowns and commented on how he towered over everyone and earned the nickname “gentle giant.”

“Quiet personality but a beautiful spirit,” Cooper said. His death “definitely caught me by surprise. It’s just so sad, the world we’re living in now.”

Floyd was charged in 2007 with armed robbery in a home invasion in Houston and in 2009 was sentenced to five years in prison as part of a plea deal, according to court documents.

Christopher Harris, Floyd’s childhood friend, said he and some of their mutual friends had moved to Minneapolis in search of jobs around 2014. Harris said he talked Floyd into also moving there after he got out of prison.

“He was looking to start over fresh, a new beginning,” Harris said. “He was happy with the change he was making.”

(Courtesy: Benjamin Crump via TMX.news)

Conga Latin Bistro owner Jovanni Tunstrom described Floyd as "always cheerful."

“He had a good attitude. He would dance badly to make people laugh. I tried to teach him how to dance because he loved Latin music, but I couldn’t because he was too tall for me. He always called me Bossman. I said, ’Floyd, don’t call me Bossman. I’m your friend.”

Floyd was laid off when Minnesota shut down restaurants as part of a stay-at-home order. Harris said he spoke with Floyd on Sunday night and gave him some information for contacting a temporary jobs agency.

“He was doing whatever it takes to maintain going forward with his life,” Harris said, adding he couldn’t believe that Floyd would resort to forgery. “I’ve never known him to do anything like that.”

Floyd's brother, Philonise Floyd, told CNN that "knowing my brother is to love my brother."

"He's a gentle giant, he don't hurt anybody," he told Don Lemon.

Floyd leaves behind a 6-year-old daughter who still lives in Houston with her mother, Roxie Washington, the Houston Chronicle reported.

“The way he died was senseless,” Harris said. “He begged for his life. He pleaded for his life. When you try so hard to put faith in this system, a system that you know isn’t designed for you, when you constantly seek justice by lawful means and you can’t get it, you begin to take the law into your own hands.”


Early Humans

Archaeologists have used fossil evidence to piece together information about the earliest humans. Homo Heidelbergensis lived in Europe and Africa between 700,000 and 200,000 years ago males stood at an average of 5 feet 9 inches, while females were shorter, with an average height of 5 feet 2 inches. Homo floresiensis, nicknamed "the hobbit," lived in Asia between 95,000 and 17,000 years ago and was much shorter evidence from a female skeleton suggests an average height of a little more than 3 feet. Neanderthals, man's closest relative, lived in Europe and Asia between 200,000 and 28,000 years ago. Evidence suggests an average height of 5 feet 5 inches for males and 5 feet 1 inch for females. Scientists believe the short, stocky bodies of Neanderthals helped them stay warm, allowing them to survive the harsh Ice Ages.


Abraham Woodhull was born in 1750 in Setauket, a town on Long Island, New York. He was the son of a prominent judge who supported colonial independence.

Woodhull began spying for the Continental Army in late 1778, as part of the Culper Spy Ring. Following the directions of Benjamin Tallmadge, his childhood friend and General George Washington’s director of military intelligence, Woodhull operated under the code name "Samuel Culper." He traveled regularly from Setauket to Manhattan, ostensibly to visit his sister. However, the British quickly suspected him of spying they even went to Setauket to arrest him in June 1779, although he avoided trouble since he wasn&apost at home. The near-miss left him shaken, but he was compelled to find another way to continue spying.

Woodhull enlisted Robert Townsend, a merchant who conducted business in Manhattan, to gather intelligence about British military plans. Under the alias "Samuel Culper Jr.," Townsend sent information by courier to Woodhull’s farm in Setauket. After collecting the messages, Woodhull waited for signals from his neighbor and fellow conspirator, Anna Strong, who communicated by hanging specific laundry out on her line. Woodhull was thereby able to locate and relay messages to whale boatꃊptainꃊleb Brewster, who then delivered them to Tallmadge.

The Culper Ring was probably Washington’s most successful spy operation. Their reports are believed to have uncovered Benedict Arnold’s treason, and led to the capture of British Major John Andre, who was working with Arnold to undermine the Continental Army. In addition, the Culper Ring likely helped prevent a British attack against French forces that had arrived in Rhode Island to assist the colonists.

Woodhull and the Culper Ring continued spying until the war&aposs official end in 1783, although it appears they did not gather much useful intelligence during their final years.


George Washington's Birthday

George Washington, copy of painting by Gilbert Stuart, 1931 - 1932, RG 148, Records of Commissions of the Legislative Branch, George Washington Bicentennial Commission.

George Washington's Birthday is celebrated as a federal holiday on the third Monday in February. It is one of eleven permanent holidays established by Congress.

Federal holidays apply only to the federal government and the District of Columbia Congress has never declared a national holiday binding in all states and each state decides its own legal holidays.

George Washington was born in Virginia on February 11, 1731, according to the then-used Julian calendar. In 1752, however, Britain and all its colonies adopted the Gregorian calendar which moved Washington's birthday a year and 11 days to February 22, 1732.

Americans celebrated Washington's Birthday long before Congress declared it a federal holiday. The centennial of his birth prompted festivities nationally and Congress established a Joint Committee to arrange for the occasion.

At the recommendation of the Committee, chaired by Henry Clay of the Senate and Philemon Thomas of the House, Congress adjourned on February 22, 1832 out of respect for Washington's memory and in commemoration of his birth.

Prompted by a memorial from the mayor and other citizens of Philadelphia, the House and Senate commemorated the 130th Anniversary of Washington's birth by reading aloud his Farewell Address.

In a special joint session held in the House Chamber, the House and Senate, along with several cabinet officials, Justices of the Supreme Court and high-ranking officers of the Army and Navy, gathered to listen to the Secretary of State read the address aloud. Eventually, the reading of George Washington's Farewell Address became an annual event for the Senate, a tradition that is still observed to this day.

Washington's Birthday, however, did not become a legal holiday until January 31, 1879 when Congress added February 22nd to the list of holidays to be observed by federal employees in the District of Columbia. The act did not stipulate that employees were to be paid for the holiday - in fact, some government employees in the District of Columbia were paid while others were not.

In 1885, Congress resolved this discrepancy with legislation that required federal employees to be paid for all federal holidays and made federal holidays applicable to all federal government employees, including those employed outside the Washington DC area.

Washington's Birthday was celebrated on February 22nd until well into the 20th Century. However, in 1968 Congress passed the Monday Holiday Law to "provide uniform annual observances of certain legal public holidays on Mondays." By creating more 3-day weekends, Congress hoped to "bring substantial benefits to both the spiritual and economic life of the Nation."

One of the provisions of this act changed the observance of Washington's Birthday from February 22nd to the third Monday in February. Ironically, this guaranteed that the holiday would never be celebrated on Washington's actual birthday, as the third Monday in February cannot fall any later than February 21.

Contrary to popular belief, neither Congress nor the President has ever stipulated that the name of the holiday observed as Washington's Birthday be changed to "President's Day."

Letter from Chief Justice John Marshall to Henry Clay and Philemon Thomas, regarding the centennial of George Washington s birth, February 4, 1832, RG 128, Records of the Joint Committees of Congress.

Petition from John W. Thompson, praying for a bill giving all federal workers pay on holidays, February 7, 1878, RG 46, Records of the United States Senate. In addition to employees at the Navy Yard, Federal employees at the Bureau of Printing and Engraving, and the Government Printing Office, were also regularly denied pay on holidays.

This page was last reviewed on June 19, 2019.
Contact us with questions or comments.


This calculator uses the parents' height only. It can be used to predict the future heights of unborn children or very young infants.

The following converter can be used to convert the body height between the metric unit and the unit used in the United States.

How tall will I be?

"How tall will I be?" or "how tall will my child be?" are questions that are often asked. The height of a person is determined by a combination of genetics and environmental factors. The precise contribution from these two factors is complex. Some studies suggest that genetics contributes 60%-80%. Normally, a child's height is based on parental heights subject to regression toward the mean. This means that very tall or short parents are likely to have a taller or shorter child than average, but the child is likely to be closer to the average height than their parents.

Other important factors that contribute to a child's adult height include nutrition, health, sports activities, health and age of the mother during pregnancy, etc.

Infants and toddlers grow the fastest. The growth rate declines rapidly from birth to roughly age 2 and declines more slowly thereafter. During puberty, growth rate increases again to a second maximum, after which it slowly declines to zero. This is typically referred to as the pubertal growth spurt. On average, female and male growth trails off to zero at about 15 and 18 years old, respectively.

In some cases, a person's height begins to shrink in middle age, though shrinkage of stature is largely universal in the very elderly. This is due to factors such as decreased height of intervertebral discs as well as changes due to degenerative diseases.

Predicting a child's adult height

Many different methods have been developed to predict a child's adult height, some more accurate than others. Regardless how accurate the method, height prediction is not an exact science, and it is possible that a child's height can deviate significantly from what is predicted.

Bone age, skeletal maturity method

Bone age can be used to predict height and is considered more accurate than the other methods listed below. One such method is the Greulich-Pyle method that involves left hand and wrist radiographs to measure bone age. This method compares the radiograph of the patient to that of the nearest standard radiograph in the Greulich-Pyle atlas, a compilation of bone age data. Based on bone age, the height of the child, and the data compiled in the atlas, it is possible to predict height based on the percentage of height growth remaining at a given bone age. Note that the data in the atlas were obtained between 1931 and 1942 from Caucasian children, which may limit how accurately the Greulich-Pyle method can be used for current children. 1

The Khamis-Roche method 2

The Khamis-Roche method is considered to be one of the more accurate height prediction methods that do not require the measurement of bone age. It is based on the child's stature, weight, and the average stature of the two parents. The first calculator above is mainly based on this method.

Note that it is most applicable to Caucasian children between the ages of 4 and 9 who are free from any growth-related condition or disease.

CDC Growth Charts of the United States are good sources of information to evaluate the growth situation of a child. These growth charts consist of percentile curves illustrating the distribution of specific body measurements of children in the United States. In total, there are 16 charts that contain data that can be used to compare the growth of a child over time. Measurements such as height, weight, and head circumference of a child can be compared to the expected values based on data from these growth charts of children of the same age and sex. In general, children maintain a fairly constant growth curve, which is why these charts can be used to predict the adult height of a child to a certain extent.

There are also some very simple, but less accurate, methods available. One of them is adding 2.5 inches (7.6 cm) to the average of the parent's height for a boy and subtracting 2.5 inches (7.6 cm) for a girl. The second calculator above is based on this method.

Another simple method is to double the height achieved by the child by age 2 for a boy, or age 18 months for girl.

How to get taller?

Height, for better or for worse, is largely (60-80%) determined by genetics. As mentioned above, very tall parents are more likely to have a taller child, while very short parents are more likely to have a shorter child, with the child being more likely than their parents to be closer to average height. After the growth spurt during puberty, which differs slightly for girls and boys, neither will typically grow much more, and girls typically stop growing by 15, while boys stop at around 18 years of age.

That being said, there are environmental factors that can affect the height of a child. Some of these may be within the control of the child, while many may not. Nutrition and health of the mother during pregnancy can affect the height of their unborn child. Nutrition as well as exercise after birth can also affect height.

Recommendations for providing the best conditions for your body to grow follow typical guidelines for healthy living (in no particular order):

  1. Eat as much unprocessed foods as possible such as fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, proteins, and dairy.
  2. Avoid eating foods that are high in sugar, trans fats, saturated fats, and sodium.
  3. Exercise regularly to strengthen bones and muscles, maintain a healthy weight, and reduce the risk of diseases such as osteoporosis and other issues that could arise from poor health, that could in turn affect growth and height.
  4. Pay attention to good posture. Aside from looking shorter due to poor posture, it can affect actual height in the long term if the back starts curving to accommodate a regular slouching posture.
  5. Sleep regularly. Human growth hormone, a factor that affects growth, is released while you sleep. A regularly poor sleeping schedule during adolescence can affect growth in the long term. How much a person should sleep is dependent on their age, with more sleep being recommended the younger the child is.

In fringe cases, it is possible that some disease or condition could be hampering your growth, and it is possible that a doctor may be able to assist you in such a case, which may in turn affect height. For the most part however, peak height is reached by the time a child has gone through puberty, and it is likely that any child past puberty will maintain their height throughout adulthood.


Watch the video: How tall were these Historical Figures? Lets Compare (May 2022).