Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

Washington, George, 1732-1799.
Princeton University. Library. Special Collections
Princeton University Library Collection of George Washington Materials
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
1750-1904 (mostly 1750-1793)
1 box and 1.7 linear feet
Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (scahsvm): Box 1


Consists of selected correspondence and documents by and about George Washington, first president of the United States, as well as some items of members of his family.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of selected correspondence and documents by and about George Washington, first president of the United States, as well as some items of members of his extended family. There are two letters by Washington addressed to Major William DeHart of the New Jersey Regiment: the first, sent from Trenton, N.J., on January 1, 1777, regards the appointment of Col. Newcomb; the second, written at Morristown, N.J., and dated January 8, 1780, concerns provisions for the Continental Army. One letter to Col. Dayton of Chatham, N.J., dated June 14, 1781, concerns the movement of the British fleet; another to Edward Pemberton in London mentions the Revolutionary War. Included are a letter by Washington to the Rev. Jonathan Boucher, schoolmaster of Washington's stepson, Jack Custis, about paying for the boy's tuition, clothing, and the stabling of his horse, and a letterpress copy of a letter sent by Washington to his mother, Mrs. Mary Washington. In adddition, there is a copy of a letter by Jacob Duché to George Washington, dated December 8, 1777, asking him to stop rebelling against England, as well as a note from Richard Price which accompanied a presentation copy of a pamphlet Price wrote about Washington.

Documents signed by Washington include a certificate of membership of John Lawrence in the "Society of the Cincinnatis" and another appointing William Patterson of New Jersey to the Supreme Court. In addition, there is his survey, dated November 24, 1750, for a tract of land (453 acres) that he purchased in West Virginia.

Material by members of Washington's family includes a letter from John Augustine Washington to "Mrs. Morgan," dated December 25, 1860; three letters (1808, 1818, and 1826) and three engravings of Bushrod Washington; and a letter from Henry Augustine Washington, Princeton Class of 1839, to his father, Lawrence Washington, dated June 18, 1847. There is also a letter from Lawrence Washington certifying the authenticity of the signature and bookplate of George Washington which he sold, giving the successive ownership of the book in which they appear. This letter is dated October 17, 1904.


The items are arranged alphabetically by name of correspondent or subject.

Collection Creator Biography:

Washington, George, 1732-1799.

Bushrod Washington was George Washingto's nephew. He inherited Mount Vernon.

John Augustine Washington was the great-grandson of Washington's brother, John Augustine Washington.

Lawrence Washington was a great-great grandson of Washington's brother, John Augustine Washington.

Collection History


Survey was a gift of Junius Spencer Morgan, Princeton Class of 1888, in December 1932 .

Copy of Duché's letter was purchased in July 1940 .

Autographed document of James Patterson was a gift from Mr. Dean Mathey, Princeton Class of 1912, in April 1948 .

Letter to Mary Washington was a gift from Dan D. Coyle, Princeton Class of 1938, on November 21, 1960 .

Bushrod Washington material was a gift from James D. Pitney, Princeton Class of 1943 on May 26, 1965 .

Letter of Henry Augustine was purchased on February 2, 1967 .

Letter to Pemberton was a gift of Mr. & Mrs. William M. Cahn, Jr., Princeton Class of 1933, on November 21, 1980 .

Letter to Col. Dayton, dated June 14, 1781, was a gift of Julian F. Thompson, Princeton Class of 1949, on May 12, 1982 .

Letter to Rev. Boucher was a gift of Mr. & Mrs. William M. Cahn, Jr., Princeton Class of 1933, in memory of Dewitt Millhauser, on December 20, 1982 .

Letter to DeHart, dated Jan. 1, 1777, were the gift of Julian F. Thompson, Princeton Class of 1949, on July 9, 1984 and August 5, 1985 .

Letter to Dayton, dated April 4, 1784, was a gift of Dr. James H. Armstrong, Princeton Class of 1952, on November 18, 1985 .

Letter by Lawrence Washington was transferred from Rare Books in 2003 .

Custodial History

The collection was formed as a result of a Departmental practice of combining into one collection material of various accessions relating to a particular person, family, or subject.


No appraisal information is available.

Processing Information

Folder inventory added by Nicholas Williams '2015 in 2012.

During 2022, restrictions on original George Washington letters were lifted as part of a restrictions review project.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

Open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. No further photoduplication of copies of material in the collection can be made when Princeton University Library does not own the original. Inquiries regarding publishing material from the collection should be directed to RBSC Public Services staff through the Ask Us! form. The library has no information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any questions of copyright.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

Credit this material:

Princeton University Library Collection of George Washington Materials; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-3184
Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (scahsvm): Box 1