George Washington’s brown Inauguration suit may have been plain for the times, but it was tailored from American-made broad cloth. The majority of cloth used in the United States in 1789 was imported from Britain, said Eliza West, an expert on 18th century textiles.
Wearing a suit of British-made fabric would have been a faux pas in the young nation that won its independence from Britain, so Washington asked cabinet member Henry Knox, of Fort Ticonderoga fame, to locate a suit of American-made cloth. The irony, West said, is that the cloth was of such quality that many people would not believe it was American made, and accused Washington of political incorrectness any way. [Read more…] about Artifacts: History’s Primary Sources