The amazing story of General Casimir Pulaski and the secret the war hero took to the grave

The amazing story of General Casimir Pulaski and the secret the war hero took to the grave

April 5, 20192 min read

He’s a person who has intrigued Americans for centuries and will be the subject of a documentary airing Monday.  Scientists have confirmed that legendary Revolutionary War hero and famed General Casimir Pulaski took a secret to the grave.

The General was intersex. News of this was enough to inspire an episode in Smithsonian Channel's "America's Hidden Stories" documentary series.

Georgia Southern University’s Virginia Hutton Estabrook, Ph.D., assistant professor of anthropology, was recently contacted by media for expert perspective and comment.

In the documentary — “The General Was Female?” — which premieres Monday, scientists use skeletal remains and DNA testing to make a case that the skeleton was Pulaski’s and that the Polish-born general was intersex, or what used to be known as a hermaphrodite.“That’s pretty much the only way to explain the combination of features that we see,” said Estabrook, who participated in the most recent effort to identify the bones, and appears in the documentary.“He was so important as a touchstone for the Polish community. And it’s kind of cool that in the 21st century, Pulaski can be a touchstone for a different group of people: That, hey, there were intersex people in history, too, and here’s this one who had this really amazing life: heroic, resourceful, all of the features in the American narrative that we value and treasure.” – Chicago Tribune

This discovery unearths questions about what this might mean as we all look back at history and the real people who helped write it.

Are you covering this story and need to expert perspective, insight and information? That’s where the experts from Georgia Southern University can help. Virginia Hutton Estabrook is an assistant professor of anthropology and played an integral role in this discovery. She is available to speak with media – simply click on her icon to arrange an interview.

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