Washington vs. Lincoln: A Presidents Day Face-off

Although some view Presidents Day as a chance to honor all US presidents, the federal holiday has a complicated history. For much of its existence the day was referred to as “Washington's Birthday," and in some state's it’s still named “Washington and Lincoln Day” (goo.gl/VZFw7).

How have Presidents Abraham Lincoln and George Washington fared in print and pop culture over time? Using Google’s Ngram tool, we found that mentions of Washington in books have outpaced mentions of Lincoln since roughly 1930, though Lincoln won out for much of the time between his death and the early 20th century (the brief spike prior to Lincoln’s birth may refer to his grandfather, a militia captain) (goo.gl/EYB8V).

Washington also beat out Lincoln in newspaper mentions -- though Lincoln logged a respectable 118,000 mentions since 1732 according to Google’s News Archive Search (goo.gl/MsJcu), Washington still wins with 269,000 (goo.gl/9SKvI). To be fair, Washington did have a 77-year head start over Lincoln.
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