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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 hsi 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.

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Heh, I like Wikipedia's answer: 6 ft 1 1⁄2 in (the average of the heights given by the various sources). –  Yannis Rizos May 28 '13 at 6:04
    
Just a note from Continental Europe: could you please next time translate (in brackets) 6ft to meters and other units to metric ones? Thanks in advance :) –  Voitcus Jun 6 '13 at 14:27
    
@Voitcus: I almost always do that, but considering the context, and that all relevant historical records are in imperial units, I didn't do that this time. –  Flimzy Jun 6 '13 at 16:10
    
It's ok and this is no problem. You just might have written 6ft (183 cm). This would be easier to read for people using metric system. –  Voitcus Jun 6 '13 at 17:05
    
@Voitcus: Having lived in places other than the U.S., I, too, prefer metric. Question updated. –  Flimzy Jun 6 '13 at 17:13

1 Answer 1

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.

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+1 for not (only) citing Wikipedia for once :) –  Drux Jun 6 '13 at 22:28
    
This answer basically seems to confirm the question: Sources say he was 6'0"-6'3". I was hoping for something more thorough. I realize no consensus will ever be reached (barring uncovering new evidence), but I would be interested to see a summary of the available evidence for the various opinions. Your answer does offer evidence for both the 6'2" and 6'3½" measurements, but not much in the way of an analysis, or evidence for the other prevailing views. –  Flimzy Jun 7 '13 at 4:43

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