Topic: Mount Vernon

Visitors’ Accounts of George Washington’s Mount Vernon

By Dana Stefanelli, Assistant Editor
December 8, 2017

With the holiday season upon us, it seems appropriate to look back at visitors’ accounts of George and Martha Washington’s Potomac River plantation, Mount Vernon. The Christmas season—stretching from December 24th to January 6th—was widely considered a time to gather with family and friends. As the Washingtons’ estate and reputation grew, visitors came year-round and included not only immediate family and local friends but more distant relatives and strangers with and without letters of introduction.

Continue reading

“[T]he life of a Husbandman”1: Visualizing Agricultural Data from George Washington’s Financial Papers

by Prajeeth Kumar Koyada
February 24, 2017

As a student analyst for The Washington Papers, I have the opportunity to work on a variety of interesting tasks. One of these tasks includes figuring out how to make George Washington’s documents more accessible to the public.

For Washington’s financial records, this is especially important. While the records detail Washington’s purchases, and thus his belongings, it is difficult to gain deeper meaning from the records in their raw form. We could look at each document line-by-line—discovering that Washington bought twenty bushels of corn one day in 1790 and then sold four pounds of beef the next—but we do not gain any broad historical insight from such information. In order to see meaningful patterns and trends, we must look at the data as a whole.

Continue reading

A Mount Vernon Democracy: The Popularized Image of George Washington’s Home

By Katie Lebert, Communications Specialist
December 10, 2016

More than just a man, George Washington is a symbol of our revolutionary spirit and democratic principles. Lydia Brandt, architectural historian and professor at the University of South Carolina, studies Mount Vernon, his home, to explore whether it holds similarly iconic status. In her new book, titled First in the Homes of His Countrymen: George Washington’s Mount Vernon in the American Imagination, Brandt surveys Mount Vernon’s memory in the American imagination. Recently, she sat down with us to reflect on the results of her investigation.

Brandt’s interest in the subject was sparked when she began to notice replications of Mount Vernon. Soon after, friends affirmed her hunch, by finding Mount Vernon elsewhere: “People used to send me photos and postcards of buildings that looked like Mount Vernon.” But it was not until she began tracking all the various examples that she saw a pattern. The house had become a revered symbol, much like George Washington.

Continue reading

The Spirit of Mount Vernon

By Katie Lebert, Communications Assistant
December 21, 2015

“No one in the Association receives any salary whatsoever. Their sole reward is having preserved Mount Vernon, ‘sacred to the memory of the Father of his Country.’

“In proof of the appreciation of the sacredness of the spot is the fact that during the [Civil] War no act of vandalism was committed there by either side. … The members of contending armies on approaching its precincts sounded a truce, and, stacking arms outside, trod the hallowed ground with reverent feet.”1

Continue reading

George – and Martha – Washington’s Mount Vernon: Journal of a Recent Visit to Mount Vernon, November 3 – 5, 2015


The cover of The Washingtons, courtesy of the author.

The cover of The Washingtons, courtesy of the author.

By Flora Fraser, Author of The Washingtons:  George and Martha, “Join’d by Friendship, Crown’d by Love”, a new portrait of the first presidential family as informed by the Papers of George Washington


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

On board BA 217, London to DC. I’m looking forward to speaking tomorrow night in the Gay Hart Gaines Distinguished Visiting Lecturer of American History programme. It’s wonderful to speak for the first time about my book, The Washingtons, at Mount Vernon, where I first conceived the idea of writing about America’s first couple, as well as where Mary Thompson, research historian, was so very generous about my many visits to her office, with her time and thoughts about George and Martha.

Continue reading