Washington, George (1732-1799)

4 boxes (1 partial)

This collection is stored at Firestone Library.

Requests will be delivered to Manuscripts Division, RBSC Reading Room .

Collection Creator: De Coppet, Andre, 1892-1953..

Dates: 1750-1799.

Extent: 4 boxes (1 partial)

Languages: English.

Access Restrictions

Researchers are required to use surrogates.


George Washington was first President of the United States of America (1789-1797) and commander-in-chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. This collection of letters and documents written by Washington includes correspondence with some of the most well-known early Americans including John Adams, Nathanael Greene, John Hancock, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison.

The earliest items in the series are Virginia land surveys conducted by Washington in the 1750s. The bulk of the material dates from the years of the Revolutionary War (1775-1783). Many of the letters detail the countless important decisions Washington was forced to make as commander of America's revolutionary forces, from issues of staffing and rank to how to adequately provision soldiers with clothing and food. He wrote of his frustration with short enlistments and the need for more soldiers, and defended his decision to have the troops winter at Valley Forge.

The series also includes letters and documents from Washington's time as President. His letters address questions of constitutional and congressional powers, and highlight some of the ways the new country navigated international diplomacy. The documents section contains two and half pages of an undelivered inaugural address in Washington's hand.

A handful of personal letters and documents include lists of slaves divided between Washington and his brothers, and directions for the running of his Mount Vernon estate.

The correspondence is arranged alphabetically by name of correspondent. The Papers of George Washington (University of Virginia Press, 1976-2008), an extensive project to publish all of Washington's writings, has not been completed at the time of this writing (August 2008), though many volumes have been published. Those volumes that have been published were consulted during the preparation of this finding aid. Letters in this collection that are published contain a bracketed notation in the item description citing the series, volume, and page numbers. It should also be noted that the full text and footnotes of the volumes can also be accessed digitally at http://rotunda.upress.virginia.edu/pgwde.

Patrons will be given access to surrogate, photoduplicated copies of the Washington materials.

Preferred Citation

Washington, George (1732-1799); 1750-1799; Andre De Coppet Collection, Manuscripts Division, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

    Request Checked Items
    Title Date Container
    Correspondence 1770 March 9-1799 January 20 Explore Multiple Containers
    Documents 1750-1802 November 15 Explore Multiple Containers
    Land Surveys: Frederick County, Virginia 1750 Item 7

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