Learn more about the collection of items displayed in the Mansion’s New Room during the celebration honoring the George Washington Presidential Library’s 10-year anniversary.

1. Nelly's Music Book

This collection of music was passed from George Washington’s stepdaughter Patsy Custis to her nieces, all of whom signed the book during their periods of ownership. One such niece, Eleanor Parke Custis Lewis (known as Nelly), was an accomplished musician and a noted harpsichordist. Aside from compositions of music, this book contains directions for tuning the harpsichord, a catalog of new music for sale in the 1790s, and plenty of doodles drawn by likely a bored Nelly.

Bound manuscript music belonging to Eleanor Parke Custis, 1797. (MVLA)

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Memorandum, New Room chimney and windows, Piazza, 1796. (MVLA)

Memorandum, New Room chimney and windows, Piazza, 1796. (MVLA)

2. Memorandum, New Room chimney and windows, Piazza, 1796

This memorandum, in Washington’s hand, provides the dimensions of architectural details in and around the Mansion. Notably, the New Room’s distinctive Venetian window is described in exacting detail. It is believed that Washington possibly recorded these measurements in preparation for installing wallpaper in the New Room. This memorandum is also notable as it was one of the earliest additions to Mount Vernon’s collection.

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3. Washington Bedchamber wallpaper border fragment

This particular wallpaper fragment was discovered near the room’s ceiling and displays elements of a neoclassical swag motif. (MVLA)

This particular wallpaper fragment was discovered near the room’s ceiling and displays elements of a neoclassical swag motif. (MVLA)

In 1797, after eight years away, the Washingtons made substantial updates to Mount Vernon’s interiors, including wallpapering throughout the house. Documentary evidence indicates that this was the last of several campaigns of wallpaper in the room during the Washingtons’ lifetimes.

This is one of several wallpaper fragments discovered in the Washington Bedchamber. This particular fragment was discovered near the room’s ceiling and displays elements of a neoclassical swag motif.

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4. Fairfax Account Book

The Fairfax Account Book is one of the most important documents for rediscovering the furnishings of Mount Vernon. (MVLA)

The Fairfax Account Book is one of the most important documents for rediscovering the furnishings of Mount Vernon. (MVLA)

The Fairfax Account Book is one of the most important documents for rediscovering the furnishings of Mount Vernon. This ledger, kept by George William and Sally Fairfax of neighboring Belvoir Plantation, contains listings of furnishings that were first at Belvoir, then later purchased by Washington to occupy his newly expanded Mansion.

Acquired by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association in 2013, the Fairfax Account Book informs curatorial and restoration efforts to authentically interpret the Mansion.

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The Fairfax Ledger: A Well of Knowledge


Associate Curator Adam Erby talks about Mount Vernon's curatorial ledger and how it's used to advance interpretation at Mount Vernon.

Invoice, Articles purchased by the President of the United States from Monsr. Le Prince Agent for the Count de Moustiers, 1790 March 4. (MVLA)

Invoice, Articles purchased by the President of the United States from Monsr. Le Prince Agent for the Count de Moustiers, 1790 March 4. (MVLA)

5. Invoice, Articles purchased by the President of the United States from Monsr. Le Prince Agent for the Count de Moustiers

When French minister, Éléonor-François-Elie, the Comte du Moustier, was recalled to Paris by the French government in 1790, President Washington seized the opportunity to relocate to the residence leased by the Comte on lower Broadway.

He also, using personal funds, purchased a large quantity of the Comte’s furnishings. This included two large gilt-framed looking glasses, a suite of upholstered chairs and sofa, a writing desk for Mrs. Washington, a dressing table for the president, more than 300 pieces of Sèvres porcelain dinnerware, and many other items both practical and luxurious.

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Timeline

Discover some of the Washington Library’s accomplishments in its first 10 years.

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