- Washington, George (1732-1799)
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,
Extent: 4 boxes (1 partial)
Collection is open for research use. Researchers may be required to use surrogates of
collection items stored in special vault facilities.
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
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, George (1732-1799); 1750-1799; Andre De Coppet Collection, Manuscripts Division, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.