NEH Summer Institute for Teachers

George Washington and His Legacy:

Myths, Symbols and Reality


Institute Biographies

“...His example was as edifying to all around him, as were the effects of that example lasting.”–Henry Lee

“Among the national sins of our the idolatrous worship paid to the name of George Washington.” –John Adams

“It is to be lamented that great characters...are seldom without a blot.” –George Washington

Painting of George Washington  crossing the  Delaware River

Peter H. Gibbon, Institute Director

Dr. Peter Gibbon is the author of A Call to Heroism: Renewing America's Vision of Greatness published by Atlantic Monthly Press in 2002 and in paperback in 2003. In May 2003 he was a speaker at the White House Forum on History, Civics and Service Education.

He has published articles in Newsweek, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore Sun, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and The Washington Post as well as in a variety of professional journals, such as Teachers College Record and The History Teacher. He has appeared on television and radio programs, including the Diane Rehm Show, Fox News, Here and Now, On Point, and the David Brudnoy Show.

Dr. Gibbon has traveled around the country talking to general audiences and to middle and high school students about heroism. In assemblies and individual literature and history classes, he has talked to students in public, private, and parochial schools in twenty states over the last several years.

He is currently a Senior Research Fellow at Boston University's School of Education. He was for eight years a Research Associate at Harvard University's School of Education and for thirty years a teacher and administrator. He has taught ancient and medieval history, European history, anthropology, American history and a variety of electives in American, English and European literature. He is the former headmaster of Hackley School in Tarrytown, New York. He is a graduate of Harvard College and has a Ph.D. from Columbia University Teachers College.

Frank E. Grizzard, Institute Consulant

Frank E. Grizzard, Jr., is senior associate editor at the Papers of George Washington, a modern scholarly documentary editing project publishing all of Washington's writings. His George Washington: A Biographical Companion, the first encyclopedic work devoted exclusively to the most important figure in 18th-century America, was published by the international reference publisher ABC-CLIO in 2002, and his essay "George Washington and Nineteenth-Century Culture" appeared in the Encyclopedia of the United States in the Nineteenth Century in 2001 (Paul Finkelman, ed., Scribners). A frequent lecturer on Washington, he has taken part in several teachers' symposiums, including the Mount Vernon Teachers' Conference in Oxford, Miss., and the F. Kevin Simon History Symposium in Reno, Nev., and designed courses for the University of Virginia's School of Continuing and Professional Education. He also is responsible for the appearance on the web of two documentary editions, John C. Fitzpatrick's The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745-1799 (39 vols.; Washington, D.C., 1931-44), and Paul Smith's Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774-1789 (26 vols; Washington, D.C., 1976-93).

Mr. Grizzard holds M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va., where he wrote a massive documentary history of the construction of the original buildings at Thomas Jefferson's University of Virginia. While doing his graduate work, he held a two-year research internship at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello and a fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities at the University of Virginia. Mr. Grizzard also has served as founding webmaster for the Association for Documentary Editing and is president of the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society, for which he edited the Magazine of Albemarle County History for several years.

Peter Wright, Master Teacher

Peter Wright will serve as Master Teacher for the Institute. Wright teaches Advanced Placement United States History, Advanced Placement American Government and Politics, and Psychology at Malden Catholic High School in Malden, Massachusetts, where he is also a member of the school’s Guidance and College Placement staff and a mentor for new teachers. A past participant in the 2005 NEH Institute on George Washington, and Project Director for the 2006 and 2008 Institutes on Thomas Jefferson, Wright will work with participants in preparing their curriculum units and final papers, lead some of the small group discussions, and guide teachers to resources and strategies to take back to their classrooms.

NEH Application
Participants' Final Projects 2005
Participants' Final Projects 2009

Last Updated 09/02/2009