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George Washington's Constitution to Tour the Country

Fri, 02/22/2013

For Immediate Release                                                        
February 22, 2013      
Digital images available

Mount Vernon Contact:
Melissa Wood (703) 799-5203                      
mwood@mountvernon.org

National Archives Contact:
Diane LeBlanc (781) 663-0133
Diane.leblanc@nara.gov

George Washington’s Constitution to Tour the Country

Partnership Brings Historic Book to National Archives Presidential Libraries

WASHINGTON, DC – George Washington’s personal copy of the Constitution, Acts of Congress, will travel the country beginning March 1, 2013, and visit the 13 Presidential Libraries through a special partnership between Washington’s home, Mount Vernon, and the National Archives.

The remarkably well-preserved book includes Washington’s copy of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and other legislation passed by the first session of Congress, complete with his personal annotations.

Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero said, "We are grateful to the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association for sharing the First President's original documents with our Presidential Libraries across the country."

This nationwide tour was originally conceptualized by Mount Vernon as a means of spreading awareness for The Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington, scheduled to open September 2013.  The Library is not part of the National Archives presidential library system.

“Through this special partnership with the National Archives, Mount Vernon can now share this incredible piece of history with the American people and raise awareness about George Washington’s new library,” said Curt Viebranz, Mount Vernon president.

This rare volume garnered world-wide attention last summer when it was offered for sale and then broke world records for an American historical document at auction. The 106-page Acts of Congress is emblazoned with Washington’s bookplate and features his handwritten notes penciled in the margins.  Washington received the book in 1789, his first year in office as U.S. president, and brought it with him to Mount Vernon upon his retirement from public office in 1797.  One of the early customs for the Congress’ official printer was to prepare bound copies of the acts passed by the legislative branch which would be presented as permanent keepsakes for the country’s leaders. Prominent recipients included Thomas Jefferson, John Jay, and our first president, George Washington, who all received these beautifully bound versions of the book, which were almost as artful to the eye as they were delicate to the touch.

The tour will begin at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, Simi Valley, CA, and continue on to other libraries, making its final stop at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library in Independence, MO.

At each location individuals and families will have a chance to become part of history by offering their personal reflections on the Constitution and the American Presidency.  There will be an option of contributing comments via social media or a more traditional, hard cover book.

For tour details and to learn more about special events and educational programming opportunities please visit www.archives.gov/exhibits/act-of-congress.

The schedule is as follows:
March 01- March 19: Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum
March 22 – April 05: Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum
April 08 – April 20: Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum
April 23 – May 03: Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum
May 06 – May 17:  Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library and Museum
May 20 – June 01: John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum
June 07 – June 21: Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum
June 30 – July 12: William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum
July 14 – July 27: George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum
July 30 – August 11: Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum
August 13 – August 23: Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum
August 26 – September 09: George Bush Presidential Library and Museum
September 12 – September 21: Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum

After the tour, the Acts of Congress will eventually take permanent residence at The Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington. Currently under construction by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association on Washington’s estate, the Library will serve as a place to safeguard Washington’s documents as well as a gathering place for leaders and scholars.

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