Victoria Brownworth: F in History

A question for non-history majors: At what point in your life did you first learn that not everyone whose face appears on U.S. currency held the office of president? (Currency – not coins; so forget about Sacagawea, the buffalo and George W. Bush.)

Remember, being spurred to inquire about this – or learning about it passively – does not require a numismatist and/or Trivial Pursuit-addled level of inquisitiveness of who appears on the $10,000 bill (as well as one version of the $500 bill.)

It doesn’t even require knowledge of who is on the $100 bill or that there even is such a thing.

How about just some idle curiosity about the version of the $10 bill that has been in use for the better part of the last century?


Remember her?

Editors’ Note: Victoria A. Brownworth is an award-winning journalist, syndicated columnist. She is the author and editor of nearly 30 books, including the award-winning “Too Queer: Essays from a Radical Life” and “Coming Out of Cancer: Writings from the Lesbian Cancer Epidemic.” In 2010, she founded Tiny Satchel Press, an independent publisher of young adult books for ‘tweens and teens, which specializes in books for LGBT youth and youth of color. This post is part of the 2011 National Gay History Project.

Yeh…that Victoria Brownworth.

I’d only mentioned that Shillerico shlock yesterday to point out that Bil has no problem giving space to known trans-exterminationists.  I didn’t really give a damn about what she was actually yammering about.

Thankfully, someone actually did read it – and noticed this turd in the punchbowl of (alleged) history:

Washington’s letters state that he was less than thrilled with marital life (“not much fire between the sheets”) and preferred the company of men — particularly the young Alexander Hamilton, who he made his personal secretary — to that of women, as his letters attest. His concern for his male colleagues clearly extended to their personal lives. This was especially true of Hamilton, who he brought with him to Valley Forge, giving Hamilton a cabin to share with his then-lover, John Laurens, to whom Hamilton had written passionate love letters which are still extant.

Washington himself had married late for the time — at 28 — and to a wealthy widow, Martha Custis. They raised her two children from her first marriage, but had no children of their own. (Washington was thought to be sterile either from a bout of smallpox or a fever in childhood.) Letters of Washington’s make clear that while he cared deeply for Martha and her children, there was no passion between them. Nor are there records of Washington’s dalliances with other women, as there are with Thomas Jefferson, for example, who was a womanizer with both colonial and slave women.

Washington’s passion was reserved for his work and for the men with whom he served closely, notably Hamilton and the Marquis de Lafayette. When Hamilton was a young soldier — later to be made Secretary of the Treasury by Washington and then president himself — he was engaged in relationships with other men, as love letters he sent during the Revolutionary War prove.

President Alexander Hamilton.


I remember him.

His time in office came right after that of President Aaron Burr

who, as we all know, appears on the $6 7/8 Dollar Bill.

I remember him too – but I remember his presidency (as I remember Hamilton’s) as being imaginary.

I wonder how Victoria Brownworth remembers it?

Cue the outraged historians!

2 Responses to Victoria Brownworth: F in History

  1. Kathleen says:

    I’m slogging through the recent Washington bio right now. It seems a bit ridiculous to imply George didn’t have a very large interest in women. When he married & set up house among the items he bought were a book on sex positions & Spanish Fly. He was also completely smitten with Sally Fairfax as a younger man.

    But – to address the man point. Did you know I turned down the nomination to let Pres. Ben Franklin serve?

  2. valeriekeefe says:

    For a second I forgot I was reading through your blog and thought I was reading Paul Krugman’s who is also on my blog roll… Economics geekery for the win.

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