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[Detail] George Washington. Portrait by Gilbert Stuart c1929.


Collection Overview

George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799 gives a detailed account of the political and personal life of George Washington and consists of his diaries, accounts, correspondence, military, and other accumulated papers.

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Special Features

These online exhibits provide context and additional information about this collection.

Historical Eras

These historical era(s) are best represented in the collection, although they may not be ll-encompassing.

  • Colonial Settlement, 1492-1763
  • The American Revolution, 1763-1783
  • The New Nation, 1780-1815

Related Collections and Exhibits

These collections and exhibits contain thematically-related primary and secondary sources. Browse the Collection Finder for more related material on the American Memory Web site.

Other Resources

Recommended additional sources of information.

Search Tips

Specific guidance for searching this collection.

The text that is searched is a direct transcription of the letterbooks as written in the eighteenth century. The spelling has not been modernized. Early spellings or special spellings (ligatures), such as foederal for federal, occur. In some instances, Washington varied the spelling in such words as insuing for ensuing or inclosure for enclosure.

There are many abbreviations in the texts. When searching for cities or states, think of different ways names might be abbreviated. For example, searching for mass will be more productive than searching for Massachusetts. Some abbreviations will be unique, for example, philada for Philadelphia.

Events, such as Shay's Rebellion, require more than one search request. Washington referred to this event by such terms as that "commotion in Mass." Other terms that produce results are insurrection and disorder. For best results, search for an item, read the text to learn Washington's description for the item, then search on Washington's term.

There are many different types of documents within the George Washington Papers, such as diaries, journals, and letterbooks. Washington's correspondence was copied into the letterbooks. Therefore, there may be several different letters copied on to the same page.

Searches for individuals with common first names (such as James, John, George, and Thomas) result in large hit lists. To narrow results, search on a last name only or look for exact matches with an individual's first and last name.

For more help with searching, go to Finding Items in American Memory.