This summer, the University of Virginia Press published George Washington’s Barbados Diary, an edition of the journal and ship log kept by Washington during his only trip abroad. Publication of the diary concludes more than two years of work conducted by assistant editors Lynn A. Price and Alicia K. Anderson. It is also the first complete edition of the obscure text in 126 years.
“Why is this nation like this? These structures, these institutions—how did we get here?” These are questions that Jennifer E. Steenshorne wants to address in her new position as director and editor in chief of The Washington Papers, a role she assumed in January 2018. “There’s this sort of sense that the nation emerged fully formed, but it didn’t,” she explains. “There was a process of becoming.” Some insight can be found, of course, through examining the papers of George Washington and his family. But for Steenshorne, these questions of “becoming” guide more than just historical inquiry.
Funding will maintain work already underway on The Papers of George Washington. The grant specifically supports preparation for volumes 26-32 of the Revolutionary War Series and publication of volumes 20-21 of the Presidential Series. These nine volumes will complete the print collection of The Papers of George Washington, a documentary edition that began in the late 1960s, with support from NEH, among other charitable institutions.
Senior Editor David Hoth’s guiding principle in documentary editing is to display the evidence without influencing a reader’s conclusions. His current focus, George Washington’s Farewell Address, complicates that principle. This document is included in Presidential Series volume 20 and arguably is one of Washington’s most significant contributions to the institution of the U.S. presidency. Hoth’s research into its preparation led him to suggest that we “cannot assume what has always been assumed” of this document.
George Washington’s composure under duress and remarkable memory for facts and pertinent details provided the basic tools of successful leadership, the managing editor of The Papers of George Washington told an audience in Savannah, Ga., recently.
The Center for Digital Editing (CDE) at the University of Virginia has a very specific mission: to advance the practice of editing by creating and encouraging the growth of innovative project solutions. We aim to help projects accomplish the twin goals of documentary editing—scholarship and accessibility—by taking full advantage of the possibilities of our hyperlinked world. Over the past year, we have identified four elements we see as essential to advancing that mission: research and development, engagement, project consultation and development, and education.
From September 14 to 17, the University of Virginia (UVA) hosted Human/Ties, a four-day celebration of the 50th anniversary of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). To explore and honor the vital role played by the humanities in today’s world, the forum brought together multiple University departments and programs, including the Washington Papers, as well as speakers and artists from across the country and around the world.
Last month, my colleagues Lynn Price and Edward G. Lengel and I had the amazing opportunity to visit Barbados, where George Washington traveled—and had the foresight to write about—more than two-and-half centuries ago.
The Washington Papers project stands poised to record the origins of the Franco-American alliance with the editing and publication of the final 16 volumes of the Revolutionary War Series, covering the years from 1780 to 1783. We are proud to announce a major new partnership with the Florence Gould Foundation, ensuring that these documents chronicling the most important period in the history of Franco-American relations are edited and published in time for the project’s completion in 2024.
Making George Washington’s financial papers accessible had been an early goal of the Washington Papers, but given the intricacies of the financial papers and our means of publication, very little had been done. We began to think about solutions for the financial papers, and our ideas grew and evolved with the huge advances made in the field of digital humanities in the last few years.