Throughout his life, George Washington acquired an extensive collection of books on the subjects of military history and politics. This six-volume set, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by the English historian Edward Gibbon, was listed in the inventory of Washington's library composed after his death. By studying the causes of the decline of the Roman Empire, Washington learned valuable lessons from the political errors of past military generals. Washington marked all six volumes with his bookplate and autograph, however his signature was clipped from Volume I at an unknown later date.

For George Washington's other volumes from this series, see W-401/B, W-401/C, W-401/D, W-401/E, and W-401/F.






  • Published - England


Leather, gilt, ink, laid paper


Overall: 8 1/2 in. x 5 3/8 in. x 1 5/8 in. (21.59 cm x 13.65 cm x 4.13 cm)


Gift of Miriam Melissa Lutcher Stark, 1927


None (Note: George Washington signed the top section of the title page, however the signature was clipped. The missing section of paper was filled by a conservator.)

Object Number



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