George Washington's Constitution to Tour the Country
Press Release · Friday, March 1, 2013
Partnership Brings Historic Book to National Archives Presidential Libraries
Washington, DC…The National Archives and Mount Vernon today announced the start of the tour of George Washington’s personal copy of the Acts of Congress, which includes the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and other legislation passed by the first session of Congress, to the 13 Presidential Libraries nationwide. The well-preserved 106-page volume is emblazoned with Washington’s bookplate and includes his handwritten notes penciled in the margins.
The tour begins today at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, CA, and will continue to other National Archives Presidential Libraries, making its final stop at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library in Independence, MO, in September.
At each location individuals and families will have a chance to become part of history by offering their personal reflections on the Constitution and the American Presidency. Those who cannot see this historic document in person can follow the book’s journey and share their thoughts virtually through an array of social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, a dedicated web page [www.archives.gov/exhibits/acts-of-congress] and a mobile blog [http://blogs.archives.gov/actsofcongress/]
The official printer of Congress prepared such bound volumes of legislation as permanent keepsakes for notables including Thomas Jefferson and John Jay. Washington received his book in 1789, his first year as President, and brought it with him to Mount Vernon upon his retirement from public office in 1797.
Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero said, "We are grateful to the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association for sharing the First President's original documents with our Presidential Libraries across the country."
Acts of Congress travel schedule
March 1 – March 19: Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum
March 22 – April 5: Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum
April 8 – 20: Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum
April 23 – May 3: Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum
May 06 – May 17: Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library and Museum
May 20 – June 1: John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum
June 7 – 21: Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum
June 30 – July 12: William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum
July 14 – 27: George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum
July 30 – August 11: Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum
August 13 –23: Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum
August 26 – September 9: George Bush Presidential Library and Museum
September 12 – 21: Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum
Learn more online and follow this traveling exhibit through social media including:
- The Acts of Congress and You mobile blog. Visitors can use smart phones to scan QR codes that link to questions. The blog will also feature National Archives holdings from the Presidential Libraries and Legislative Archives related to the first Congress and first President.
- Our Presidents Tumblr: http://ourpresidents.tumblr.com/
- Our Presidents Twitter: https://twitter.com/OurPresidents
- National Archives Facebook: www.facebook.com/usnationalarchives
- National Archives Twitter: https://twitter.com/USNatArchives
- Presidential Libraries’ Facebook pages: www.archives.gov/social-media/facebook.html
- National Archives Legislative Archives Tumblr: http://congressarchives.tumblr.com/
After the tour, Washington’s Acts of Congress will take permanent residence at The Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington, currently under construction by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association and scheduled to open later this year at Mount Vernon. The Library is not part of the National Archives presidential library system.
George Washington’s records at the National Archives
Although George Washington’s Acts of Congress is owned by Mount Vernon, the National Archives holds extensive records on the nation’s first president, including extensive correspondence and records of the Continental and Confederation Congresses and the Constitutional Convention.
- Washington’s first Inaugural Address [www.archives.gov/legislative/features/gw-inauguration/]
- Washington’s annotated draft of the first Constitution [http://research.archives.gov/description/1501555]
- “George Washington and the Paparazzi” " a special short film about a letter from the first president declining to sit for a portrait [http://tiny.cc/GWPaparazzi]
- Presidential historian Richard Norton Smith’s Prologue feature, “The Surprising George Washington” [www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/1994/spring/george-washington-1.html]
- Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation [http://research.archives.gov/description/299956]
- A history of the federal holiday marking Washington’s birthday (commonly referred to as Presidents Day) see the National Archives quarterly magazine Prologue’s feature [www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/2004/winter/gw-birthday-1.html]. See also, hi-res images of documents relating to the creation of this holiday [www.archives.gov/legislative/features/washington/]
In addition, the National Archives National Historical Publications and Records Commission is funding The Papers of George Washington, a project 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.
The National Archives is an independent Federal agency that serves American democracy by safeguarding and preserving the records of our Government, ensuring that the people can discover, use, and learn from this documentary heritage. The National Archives ensures continuing access to the essential documentation of the rights of American citizens and the actions of their government. From the Declaration of Independence to accounts of ordinary Americans, the holdings of the National Archives directly touch the lives of millions of people. The National Archives carries out its mission through a nationwide network of archives, records centers, and Presidential Libraries, and on the Internet at www.archives.gov.
The National Archives thirteen Presidential Libraries represent U.S. Presidents from Herbert Hoover through George W. Bush. Presidential Libraries promote understanding of the presidency and the American experience. They preserve and provide access to historical materials, support research, and create interactive programs and exhibits that educate and inspire. Presidential Libraries belong to the American people and provide insight into the times in which these presidents lived and served the nation. More information about the Presidential Libraries online.
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For press information, contact Diane LeBlanc at 781-663-0133, Diane.Leblanc@nara.gov.
This page was last reviewed on February 25, 2019.
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