The Papers of George Washington, a grant-funded project, was established in 1968 at the University of Virginia, under the joint auspices of the University and the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association of the Union, to publish a comprehensive edition of Washington's correspondence.
Letters written to Washington as well as letters and documents written by him are being published in the complete edition that will consist of approximately ninety volumes. The work is now more than two-thirds complete.
The edition is supported financially by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association, the University of Virginia, and gifts from private foundations and individuals.
Today there are copies of over 135,000 Washington documents in the projectís document room. This is one of the richest collections of American historical manuscripts extant. There is almost no facet of research on life and enterprise in the late colonial and early national periods that will not be enhanced by material from these documents. The publication of Washington's papers will make this source material available not only to scholars but to all Americans interested in the founding of their nation.
The Letterpress Edition
The Diaries were the first completed and constitute six volumes. The correspondence of The Papers of George Washington, 1748–1799, was published chronologically in five series that include not only Washington's own letters and other papers but also all letters written to him. The ten-volume Colonial Series (1744–1775) takes Washington through the French and Indian War and then focuses on his political and business activities as a Virginia planter before the Revolution. The massive Revolutionary War Series (1775–1783) - still in process - presents in documents and annotations the myriad military and political matters with which Washington dealt during the long war. The papers for his years at Mount Vernon before becoming president were published in the six-volume Confederation Series (1784–1788). His two-term presidency is being covered in the Presidential Series (1788–1797) - still in process - and the remaining years of his life at Mount Vernon are presented in the Retirement Series (1797–1799).
The Digital Edition
A landmark in historical scholarship, The Papers of George Washington Digital Edition encompasses the five separate series and the complete diaries in one online publication. You may search on full text and by date, author, or recipient across all volumes and series. The exceptional indexing of the individual print volumes is combined here into a single master index, and all internal document cross-references are linked. Enclosures and associated documents referenced in the annotation, as well as Washington's voluminous financial records, will eventually be added to the Digital Edition.