The Once and Future Presidents

George Washington’s 20 February 1797 letter to John Adams is an interesting document for many reasons. The president and vice president rarely corresponded by letter in the last months of Washington’s administration, presumably having most of their exchanges in face to face interactions. The letter is also of a private—not public—nature, with Washington giving his personal opinion of Adams’ son. Perhaps most remarkably, the letter has the first president writing to the incoming second president about the future sixth president, John Quincy Adams.

Anthrax and the President, 1789

TOPICS: George Washington, Health and Medicine, Washington’s Presidency by James E. Guba, Copy Editor, and Philander D. Chase, former Editor-in-Chief In the middle of June 1789, only about six weeks after George Washington had been inaugurated first president of the United States with great fanfare at New York’s Federal Hall, […]

George Washington on Love and Marriage

TOPICS: Eighteenth-Century Life, Featured Document(s), George Washington, GW’s Views, Washington or Custis Family by Christine S. Patrick History classes have given Americans some familiarity with Washington the Revolutionary War general and Washington the first president of the United States, but most people have little knowledge about the more personal aspects […]

George Washington Forgeries at Mount Vernon

Among the special collections owned by the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington at Mount Vernon are nearly 500 documents written by George Washington. And not surprisingly, there are also some known forgeries, one of which is attributed to Robert Spring, and another of which is likely the work of Joseph Cosey.

George’s Farm Animals in the Classroom

We recently produced a series of short, educational videos called “George’s Farm Animals,” which directly feature GW’s documents. Even though the videos focused in turn on his cattle, sheep, hogs, and mules, the documents concerning these animals also show his daily life at Mount Vernon, the importance of agriculture in the United States, his network of foreign connections, and even a glimpse of his elusive personal side. We hoped that educators would find them useful in classrooms, and that kids would enjoy learning about George and his monumental achievements from the perspective of his daily home life.

Indian Corn: Growing Pains

Over the centuries, corn has evolved into an important agricultural commodity in the United States. From food production to making ethanol, corn plays a featured role in multiple aspects of today’s world. For Washington, however, corn, specifically Indian corn, became emblematic of the wasteful practices of early American farmers.

George Washington’s Advice to his Grandson

While Washington Custis’s letters to his grandfather during his first months away at school have not survived, George Washington’s letters to his grandson provide insight into his role as father figure to the young man. Both the president and the grandson lost their fathers at an early age: George Washington at eleven, and George Washington Parke Custis at only six months. By writing these letters of advice the father of our country was imparting wisdom similar to what he might have received from his own parent.

Responses to George Washington’s Farewell Address

By Neal Millikan February 23, 2015 Neal is an Assistant Editor for The Papers of George Washington. She is currently editing volumes for the Presidential Series. On 19 September 1796 Claypoole’s American Daily Advertiser in Philadelphia published the document that became known as George Washington’s Farewell Address.  The work that […]