Visualizations

Click on the links below to see data from some of Washington’s documents transformed into visual representations of content.

Ricketts’ Circus in Philadelphia

August 2020

On April 24th, 1793, the Presidential Household Accounts indicate that Washington “[paid] for 8 tickets for the Circus.” This circus was the first in the United States. In this illustrated visualization, information about the circus’s history, the performances showcased, and the individuals who attended are described.

“Shoemaker Will”: A Timeline of William Lee’s Life

August 2020

William Lee—who preferred to be called by that name, though Washington often called him “Billy” or “Will”—was George Washington’s enslaved valet for 20 years. During that time, Lee rarely left Washington’s side, meaning that there are numerous records preserving Lee’s travels and responsibilities. Archives, however, hold fewer details on Lee’s life after a series of knee injuries made him retire from his role as a valet. We know now that in the years following, Lee began making shoes for the enslaved community of Mount Vernon plantation, with records remembering him as “Shoemaker Will (or Billy, or William)”. ​A timeline of Lee’s life is provided in this visualization.

Mapping Martha Washington’s Condolence Letters

January 2020

After the death of George Washington on Dec. 14, 1799, Martha received more than 50 letters from individuals and groups who wished to express their condolences. These letters came from all over the world, including from Spain, England, France, and Bermuda. The majority, however, came from individuals living in the United States, particularly in Philadelphia. This story map will explore these condolence letters by looking at who sent them, where they were located, and who received a response.

Apothecary Ingredients, Those Used By Doctor James Carter of Williamsburg

August 2018

Dr. James Carter operated an apothecary shop called The Unicorn’s Horn in Williamsburg, Va. Some of his most notable patients included the Custis family of New Kent County, Virginia. After Carter attended to Daniel Parke Custis during his final illness, he continued to look after Martha and her children, selling them necessary medicinal ingredients. This story map will explore the purpose and properties of these items and examine historical accounts and records to discuss their significance to the Custis and Washington families.

Exploring George Washington’s Barbados

November 2017

When he was nineteen, George Washington visited Barbados with his half brother Lawrence, spending seven weeks on the island. Hints of Washington’s eighteenth-century experience can be gleaned from a careful examination of twenty-first century Barbados. The editors of the forthcoming critical edition of Washington’s Barbados Diary explored the island for remnants of days long past, hoping to catch a glimpse into Washington’s perspective. Follow their footsteps through photographs and a map to be a part of the journey.

Mapping GW’s Voyage to Barbados

August 2017

An interactive map of Washington’s voyage to Barbados in 1751. Washington’s voyage began prior to September 28, 1751, in the Chesapeake Bay. He and his brother Lawrence arrived at Barbados on November 2, 1751. While the map illustrates the ship’s progress and landing, it also describes the weather encountered and the food eaten during the journey. Such details are revealed by selecting the various elements included on the map.

Account Book 2, 1767-1775

July 2014

GW’s account book – “Account Book 2, 1767-1775” (available online at the Library of Congress) – is compiled of copies of his business correspondence, invoices, and so forth. The original copies he wrote were sent to the merchants who were located within the American colonies, England, Ireland, and even Jamaica. Robert Cary and Co., a merchant company located in London, England, also sent GW a number of invoices detailing the costs of the goods which GW had requested from them. Included are a number of charts displaying different aspects of the information found solely within this account book.

Revolutionary War Accounts, Vouchers, and Receipted Accounts 3, 1784

July 2014

GW’s account book – “Revolutionary War Accounts, Vouchers, and Receipted Accounts 3, 1784” (available online at the Library of Congress) – records his expenses to and from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was traveling to attend a meeting of the Society of Cincinnati, a patriotic organization established in 1783. GW brought three servants and five horses on this trip and the group stopped at several taverns for food and lodging. These stops and expenses are detailed in a number of individual receipts found within the book. Included on this page are visualizations of George Washington’s journey.

Virginia Colonial Militia Accounts, 1755-1758

July 2014

GW’s account book – “Virginia Colonial Militia Accounts, 1755-1758” (available online at the Library of Congress) – is a book of receipts and expenditures for munitions, recruiting, supplies, spying, etc. The visualization included illustrates with whom GW had transactions and how many transactions they had within this particular account book.