The Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington fosters new scholarly research about George Washington and the Founding Era, while collecting original Washington books and manuscripts.

In 1986, the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association broadened its vision beyond the preservation of Mount Vernon, and sought to extend the education of Washington’s life, achievements, and character - to the entire world.

In 2010, that mission expanded to include the construction of a new research library. The MVLA announced the creation of the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington to further the organization’s mission of advancing appreciation and understanding of George Washington. The announcement resulted from a remarkable gift of $38 million from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, the largest received in the history of the MVLA. The Campaign for the Library – with Gay Hart Gaines, the Vice Regent for Florida, as chair – set an ambitious goal to raise $100 million to construct the library. The Campaign exceeded its goal by raising $106.4 million by June 2013, all provided by private donors. Groundbreaking took place in April 2011, and the Library opened its doors on September 27, 2013.

The Washington Library, a 45,000 square-foot facility, holds Washington’s books and manuscripts, and many additional 18th-century books, as well as thousands of important 19th-century newspapers, manuscripts, and documents. It also serves as a scholarly retreat, creates educational outreach programs, and provides seminars and training programs with a special focus on Washington’s leadership.


The library’s collections contain both primary and secondary sources about George and Martha Washington, topics within the eighteenth century, and the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association. Visit our library to learn more.

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Library Programs

The Library frequently hosts a variety of dynamic events, welcoming established scholars, leaders, and experts from numerous fields.

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Leadership Institute

The George Washington Leadership Institute customizes programs that support strategic thinking integrated with leadership and management development, within an historical context.

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Mount Vernon is dedicated to teaching people around the world about the life and legacies of George Washington. Our educational resources are designed to support further exploration into Washington’s world both in and out of the classroom.

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Estate Hours

Open today from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm

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