By Caitlin Conley
February 21, 2015
Caitlin is a Research Assistant for the Bibliography Project and is part of the Papers of George Washington social media team.
You may have heard about the exciting new project that began at The Papers of George Washington just this year. Associate Editor William Ferraro received a grant from the Jefferson Trust to create an online database of what Washington did every single day from his birth to his death. Several teams of talented undergraduate students are now working hard to write, proofread, and fact-check concise entries, to improve workflow, and to design the website. In writing these entries, Washington’s letters and other documents are of course invaluable, but other contemporary accounts and newspapers are also vital to consult, especially for his earlier years.
Only one other similar project, The Lincoln Log, has been undertaken. Interestingly, even though Washington lived long before Lincoln, we actually know more about what Washington did every day. Remember, there are at least 135,000 Washington documents! While The Papers of George Washington editions give Washington’s documents in chronological order, the “Day-by-Day” project will make his activities even more accessible by providing succinct summaries of what he was doing. This new tool will work as a complement to the edited Washington documents in many ways; for instance, it will streamline the process of deciding which documents to consult. Even on its own, the tool will offer an entirely different depth of perspective to Washington’s life.
The “Day-by-Day” project has already overcome many challenges and has steadily progressed towards its goals. The Jefferson Trust has been very pleased with how the project is living up to the Trust’s stated mission:
“The Jefferson Trust provides discretionary funding for trustee-selected projects that enhance the University of Virginia as a preeminent global institution of higher learning. The Trustees solicit and evaluate applications, and provide grants and stewardship towards the execution of stated project goals. The Trust measures the success of a grant by its ability to encourage creativity, innovation and leadership, and ultimately by whether it enhances the University and/or the student experience.”
The Trust honored the project’s successes so far by featuring it on the front page of the February 2015 newsletter:
You can read the full newsletter article here. Congratulations to everyone working on the “Day-by-Day” project!