Arguably the most intimate object in this exhibit, it’s impossible for Bryant Baker’s plaster casts of Marshall’s hands not to leave an impression. You can imagine them drafting plans on maps and buttoning up his uniform. You can feel them digging in the Virginia soil and handling his horse’s reins. You can see the years of experience accrued since he, then a major, defiantly grabbed General Pershing’s arm at Gondrecourt in 1917.
Without this tactile connection to most of these objects, the knowledge that he touched, handled, and used them with his own hands, they would become mere “stuff” to us. Important in their own right as artifacts, certainly, but nothing unique. These casts are something entirely different. They are as close as we can get to truly being in General Marshall’s presence.