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David M. Rubenstein Leadership Hall

In February 2013, in honor of George Washington’s birthday, David M. Rubenstein made a contribution toward the Washington Library’s construction and endowment. The David M. Rubenstein Leadership Hall, in recognition of Mr. Rubenstein’s generosity, is the Washington Library’s largest meeting space. Most of the Washington Library's major events including symposiums, public lectures, and book talks are held within the room. 

Mr. Rubenstein sponsored the Mount Vernon Leadership Fellows program from 2014-2018, which offers a dynamic and stimulating leadership curriculum taught within the Rubenstein Leadership Hall. The meeting room is also where students immerse themselves in the Situation Room Experience: Washington's Cabinet. This is also the space the George Washington Teacher Institute Residential Programs discuss innovative and engaging ways to teach about Washington and the 18th century. 

David M. Rubenstein Rare Books and Manuscripts Endowment

Mr. Rubenstein's gift also directed funds toward the establishment of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Books and Manuscripts Endowment, enabling Mount Vernon to grow and sustain its collection of original volumes and documents. It is through this generous endowment that the Washington Library has been able to purchase over 1,200 items, including the ones below.

List of enslaved workers hired by George Washington from Mrs. Penelope Manley French, July 15, 1799.


A detailed list of 40 enslaved people that George Washington hired from Mrs. Penelope Manley French, widow of Daniel French of Rose Hill. 

Full Document

The Monongahela, or Washington on the First Great Field of his Fame by George Washington Parke Custis, circa 1826


An unpublished play written by the “adopted son of George Washington,” George Washington Parke Custis of Arlington House. 

Tobias Lear on behalf of Martha Washington to John Adams, 31 December 1799 and Tobias Lear to John Adams, 1 January 1800


Letters from Martha Washington and Tobias Lear regarding Congress’ request to permanently inter George Washington within a mausoleum inside the United States Capitol.  

31 December 1799 Letter

1 January 1800 Letter

Tobias Lear to Burgess Ball, 15 December 1799


Tobias Lear informed Burgess Ball of George Washington’s passing. 

The Virginia almanack for the year 1777 by David Rittenhouse (Williamsburg, VA: Printed and sold by Dixon & Hunter, [1776])


An early Virginia almanac with a manuscript account of a visit to Mount Vernon written on the book's back leaves. The author is unconfirmed but is thought to be a descendant of John Paul Barringer.

William Carlin receipt with George Washington notation, 26 June 1771


Receipt for clothing of the Washington family from William Carlin, an Alexandria tailor.  

Full Document

George Washington to Burgess Ball, 4 August 1793


A letter regarding Washington’s expectations of the farm managers at Mount Vernon. 

Full Document

George Washington to William Smith, 22 December 1757


A letter in which Washington provided a list of subscribers, including himself, to the American Magazine and Monthly Chronicle for the British Colonies

Full Document

George Washington to David Stuart, 26 February 1798


A three page letter written from Mount Vernon revealing Washington’s continued frustration with George Washington Parke Custis’ disinterest in education.   

Full Document

Maryland Gazette, 20 August 1761


Advertisement for four enslaved individuals, Peros, Neptune, Cupid, and Jack, who ran away from Dogue Run on August 9, 1761. 

Full Document

George Washington to Nathanael Greene, 31 March 1779


While encamped at Middlebrook, New Jersey for the winter of 1779 George Washington wrote this letter to Nathanial Greene about trading one of his horses for another.  This letter was previously undocumented in the Papers of George Washington.

Full Document

John Parke Custis to George Washington, 29 May 1778


A letter about various aspects of the war and includes a note to his mom.

Andrew Elliott to Thomas Mifflin, 5 June 1794


A letter from Andrew Elliott, the surveyor general of the United States, disapproving of Washington’s policies regarding Native Americans. 

Thomas Paine to John Hustler, 8 December 1789


In this letter, Thomas Paine writes about issues of a new constitution in France and directly transcribed Washington’s address to the Society of Quakers (written by him c. 13 October 1789, in response to their address, c. 3 October 1789).

Full Document

16th January 1794: Gentleman of the Senate and of the House of Representatives, I transmit for your information, certain intelligence lately received from Europe, as it relates to the subject of my past communications by George Washington ([Philadelphia: Printed by Childs and Swaine, 1794).


Gouverneur Morris' (Minister to France) diplomatic correspondence and the French response, as well as the report on the Navigation Act in which France severely restricted the activities of foreign shipping and navigation.

Bound sheet music for Eleanor “Nelly” Parke Custis, 1794


A volume of bound opera music, La Cifra by Antonio Salieri with an inscription, likely in Washington’s hand: “Brought from Rome for E. P. Custis, presented by Signore Cerrachi, 1794.” 

The Ephemera Collection


In 2016, the library acquired a collection of approximately 500 items of ephemera related to the memory and popular image of George Washington. The collection greatly expands our ephemera holdings and provides researchers with raw materials to view how Washington has infused the popular imagination and national psyche over the years.

Mémoire contenant le précis des faits, avec leurs pièces justificatives. Pour servir de réponse aux Observations (sur le Mémoire de la France) envoyées par les Ministres d'Angleterre dans les Cours de l'Europe by Jacob Nicolas Moreau (Paris, 1756). First edition.


This French publication of Washington’s Journal was created from Washington’s notes and other papers which were found by the French at Fort Necessity. It was issued by the French government, and transmitted to the courts of Europe as a justification of the war with England and to support the French claim that Washington murdered

George Washington to William Gordon, 10 August 1784


Washington thanks Gordon for sending him newspapers from Boston and mentions issues he is having with people settling on his lands near the Ohio River, which is he is about to leave Virginia to take care of.

Full Document

Engraved calling card, Martha Washington, 1796


"Mrs. Washington's card left at my husband's lodgings at Mr. Saml. Caldwell's North Fourth Street Philadelphia in the year 1796."

George Washington to Judah Alden, 23 November 1780


This correspondence lays out an elaborate plan of attack meant to fall into the hands of the enemy.

Full Document

George Washington to James Donaldson, 29 September 1794


A memorandum detailing a work contract with Mount Vernon carpenter James Donaldson, including his allowances for food, moving expenses, use of tools, use of a house, garden, and cow, and the privilege of the occasional absence, in exchange for his work. 

Full Document

West Ford to John Augustine Washington III, 6 September 1844


West Ford reports on illnesses at Mount Vernon to John Augustine Washington III.

Full Document

George Washington to Christopher Greene, 27 November 1780


Washington issues orders for Greene's First Rhode Island Regiment, which included formerly enslaved African American soldiers, to march from Newport to West Point under Rochambeau.

Full Document

Map of George Washington’s Land at MountVernon Fairfax Cty Virginia: As It Was & As It Is


A map of Washington's land in Fairfax, Virginia. 

Jean-Baptiste-Donatien de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau, Philadelphia, to François Jean, marquis de Chastellux, 1782 July 20


Rochambeau writes about Washington's plans for the 1782 campaign and news from Europe.

Full Document

Carte de visite of Jim Mitchell, Alexander Gardner, 1870 April 15


This image was taken in Gardner’s studio in Washington, D.C. Mitchell was formerly enslaved and in 1870 an employee of the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association. He poses with a group of wooden canes propped against a piece of furniture.

See the Image

George Washington to John Beale Bordley, 1799 August 4


George Washington acknowledges and thanks John Beale Bordley for presenting him with a copy of Bordley's recently published book, Essays and Notes on Husbandry and Rural Affairs. The book was delivered to Mount Vernon by Secretary of War James McHenry.

Full Document

George Washington to Colonel Frederick Weissenfels, 1785 March 15


Washington responds to a former Revolutionary officer's request for assistance. Washington offers to provide a certificate of service to Weissenfels if he can first send a testament of services from his commanding officer, Governor George Clinton.

Full Document

Account with Joseph Corre, 1790 April 15 – July 7


Accounts between the President's household in New York and local confectioner Joseph Corre. Includes purchases of macaroni, bitter almonds, caraway seed, and ice cream. On April 15, the President's household purchased "dinner drest," when John and Abigail Adams, John Jay, and Thomas Jefferson dined with him.

Full Document

Gabriel Johnson to John Augustine Washington III, 1845 August 6


In the hand of Henry P. Hill, likely dictated by Gabriel Johnson from Bruin's Slave Jail in Alexandria. Gabriel tells his side of the story following a disagreement with Joseph McFarland, John Augustine's overseer at Mount Vernon.

Full Document

Charles Cotesworth Pinckney to Tobias Lear, 1799 December 17


Pinckney writes from Harper's Ferry three days after George Washington's death offering his condolences for this "irrepreable loss" to Tobias Lear, Martha Washington, and Nelly Parke Custis Lewis.

Full Document

Fenwick Mason to George Washington, 1789 December 5


Addressed to His Excellency George Washington Esq. President of the United States of America the letter makes reference to various wines ordered by the President for entertaining, including "26 dozen claret and 12 dozen vins de grave."

Receipt for 22 yards of mantua purchased by Martha Washington


Receipt from Susanna Lockyer to First Land Martha Washington from 1791 September 6 for the purchase of 22 yards of mantua. 

Full Document

Eliza Parke Custis, Boston, to Gideon Snow, 1828 October 10 with George Washington letter, 1785 September 10, and fragment of velvet from Washington’s coat.


Timothy Pickering, Philadelphia, to Oliver Phelps, 1790 September 4


Pickering discusses Washington’s response to the Pine Creek killings.

Full Document

Memoirs of Andrew Jackson, Major-General in the Army of the United States; and Commander in Chief of the Division of the South, by S. Putnam Waldo, Esq. (Hartford: J. and W. Russell, 1819).


This book includes a manuscript note from Eliza Parke Custis to the Marquis de Lafayette.

Manuscript letters and documents

An archive of 162 letters and 2 receipts containing letters to and from John Augustine Washington III at Mount Vernon from 1837-1861.