Big Deal Media

K-12 Technology
American History

Oct 16, 2017 2017-10-16

Digital Learning • Learning Support

George Washington’s Documents

The Papers of George Washington are a monumental collection of 140,000 documents assembled by editors and scholars at the University of Virginia, who searched more than 300 libraries and archives in the United States and overseas to complete the picture of America’s first president and his times. Washington’s correspondence, his diary, and papers from his presidency make up the bulk of the project, which also includes letters written to him. Documents touch on nearly all facets of life in the late colonial period and provide insight into the founding of the nation. Detailed records of his farming, trading, and land interests range from financial account books to orders and invoices from British merchants to lists of those enslaved. Washington also kept meticulous records of his time commanding the American Revolutionary Army and serving as president. Washington’s character can be seen in the words he chose. His papers reveal, for example, how the burden of forming the new nation weighed heavily on him. Washington summed up these feelings in an address before the Connecticut Legislature in October 1789. In addition to their availability in printed volumes, the papers are accessible at Founders Online. The digital version includes notations identifying people and places, and provides context where needed. The website for the project has maps, an image gallery of Washington and his family, and scans of documents that allow the reader to see Washington’s sprawling handwriting up close. Sixty-three of a projected 90 volumes are complete, with the remainder to be done by 2023.

Social Studies Reading/English/Language Arts Digital Literacy Information Literacy

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