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Mount Vernon Selects Inaugural Class of Fellows for New Library

Fri, 01/11/2013

For Immediate Release
January 11, 2013

Media Contact:
Melissa Wood (703) 799-5203

Mount Vernon Selects Inaugural Class of Fellows for New Library

Scholars to Begin Work When Library for George Washington Opens in Fall 2013

MOUNT VERNON, VA – Drawing from a pool of highly-qualified applicants from around the world, Mount Vernon has selected seven scholars to serve as the inaugural class of fellows for the new Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington, which will open in fall 2013.  The fellows will reside and study at George Washington’s estate between September 2013 and August 2014 for short- and long-term fellowships.

During the course of their residence, the scholars will generate new research on the life, leadership, and legacy of Washington. They will also explore topics related to early America and engage in ground-breaking historic preservation-focused studies inspired by the enterprising efforts of the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association.  The fellows, who range from doctoral candidates to seasoned scholars, were selected after a review by an independent jury of five prominent scholars who met at Mount Vernon in December 2012.

The establishment of a new fellowship program is a key objective of The Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington, the latest initiative from George Washington’s Mount Vernon, the historic home of the first president.  Currently under construction just outside the main entrance to the estate, the 45,000 square-foot National Library is designed to serve as a “presidential library” for the first president, housing many of his original books and manuscripts and fueling new scholarly research about, and influenced by, the Founding Era.  During their time in residence, the fellows will live on site at a new scholars’ home, the DeVos House, located just 150 feet from the Library.

“With the establishment of the National Library, we have an unprecedented opportunity to expand scholarship about George Washington and the Founding Era, and to make those findings available to new audiences,” said Curt Viebranz, president & CEO, George Washington’s Mount Vernon. “Our fellows have submitted proposals that are creative and compelling, and we look forward to supporting their research.”

The following scholars have been named as part of the Library’s inaugural class and are listed with their proposed topic of study:

Dr. Lydia Brandt, University of South Carolina: “Making Mount Vernon Anew”

Trenton Cole Jones, Doctoral Candidate, The Johns Hopkins University: “Deprived of Liberty: Enemy Prisoners and the Culture War in Revolutionary America, 1775-1783”
(Recipient of the Amanda and Greg Gregory Family Fellowship)

Dr. James Kirby Martin, University of Houston: “George Washington: The Greatest Character of the Age” (recipient of the James C. Rees Fellowship on the Leadership of George Washington)

Dr. Edward Larson, Pepperdine University: “George Washington’s Role in Shaping the Constitution”
Dr. Sandra Moats, University of Wisconsin, Parkside: “George Washington and the Advent of American Neutrality as a Post-Revolutionary Concept, 1776-1779”

Dr. Jon E. Taylor, University of Central Missouri: “Genesis of America’s Historic Preservation Impulse: Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association”

Gwendolyn K. White, Doctoral Candidate, George Mason University: “Commerce and Community at George Washington’s Mount Vernon, 1754-1799” (recipient of the James C. Rees Entrepreneurship Fellowship funded by the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation)

About The Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington:
Located on the picturesque and historic setting of the Mount Vernon estate, the Library will serve as a worldwide repository for expertise about Washington, his achievements, and his legacies. A private, not-for-profit organization, the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association is constructing the Library and building its slate of innovative programs without any government funding. The Library will achieve three important objectives:

  • It will store and safeguard the irreplaceable books and letters of George Washington, and enable scholars, students, and other special audiences to conduct important research in a state-of-the-art Library placed in an inspiring environment.
  • This Library will also be the international headquarters for a series of assertive and creative outreach programs that will give special attention to students and teachers, and use the latest technologies to keep pace in a rapidly changing world.
  • And finally, the Library will host a variety of seminars and training programs with a special focus on Washington’s leadership. In the process, it will become a worldwide resource which ensures that the relevance of our greatest American is not lost somewhere between ivy-covered walls and the digital age.


Events, programs, and activities are subject to change.

Public Information: 703-780-2000; 703-799-8697 (TDD);

Since 1860, over 80 million visitors have made George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate, Museum & Gardens the most popular historic home in America.  Through thought-provoking tours, entertaining events, and stimulating educational programs on the Estate and in classrooms across the nation, Mount Vernon strives to preserve George Washington’s place in history as “First in War, First in Peace, and First in the Hearts of His Countrymen.”  Mount Vernon is owned and operated by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, America’s oldest national preservation organization, founded in 1853.  A picturesque drive to the southern end of the scenic George Washington Memorial Parkway, Mount Vernon is located just 16 miles from the nation’s capital.

Hours of operation: April-August, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; March, September, October, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; November – February, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Regular admission rates: adults, $17.00; senior citizens, $16.00; children age 6-11, when accompanied by an adult, $8.00; and children under age 5, FREE.  Admission fees, restaurant and retail proceeds, along with private donations, support the operation and restoration of Mount Vernon.