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Acts of Congress

A Historical Homecoming

On June 22, 2012, the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association emerged triumphant from an auction at Christie’s in New York, securing a priceless treasure: George Washington’s copy of the Acts of Congress. This rare volume includes Washington’s personal copy of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and other legislation passed by the First Congress, complete with his personal annotations. He brought the book home to Mount Vernon in March of 1797 after retiring from the presidency.  Since leaving the hands of the Washington family in 1876, it has been owned by private collectors. Its return to Mount Vernon coincides beautifully with the construction of the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington, which will open in fall 2013 and will function as Washington’s presidential library.
About the Book

One of the most important pieces of intellectual property owned by Washington, the book illustrates his role in the drafting, ratification, implementation, and interpretation of the Constitution and the proposed Bill of Rights. During the founding era, Congress’ official printer would prepare bound copies of the acts passed by the legislative branch. These volumes would be presented as permanent keepsakes for our leaders. Prominent recipients included Thomas Jefferson, John Jay, and our first president, George Washington.

Read more about George Washington's Acts of Congress.
On Tour Through September 21, 2013

The fascinating volume, which also contains a draft of the Bill of Rights and other records of the First Congress, will visit the 13 Presidential Libraries through a special partnership with the National Archives: