Preservation

Mount Vernon Guidebooks: 1876-1936

Mount Vernon Guidebooks: 1876-1936

In the first sixty years of the Mount Vernon guidebooks, the Mount Vernon Ladies? Association (MVLA) advertised the plantation as an idyllic shrine to George Washington.

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Allied visits to Mount Vernon during the Second World War

From 1939 to 1945, an unprecedented number of foreign dignitaries visited Mount Vernon during their official tours of the United States.

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Ann Pamela Cunningham

Ann Pamela Cunningham created the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association in 1853

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David Ramsay

David Ramsay is considered to be one of the first major historians of the American Revolution. His significant contributions to American literature include two volumes of History of the Revolution in South Carolina (1785), History of the American Revolution (1787), and The Life of George Washington (1807).

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Early History of the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association

Learn more about the founding of the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association

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Early Refurnishing Efforts: Lafayette Room

Since the Mount Vernon Ladies? Association began its preservation of Mount Vernon, one bedchamber has always been interpreted as the Lafayette Room.

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Early Refurnishing Efforts: Old Chamber

As the Mount Vernon Ladies Association?s larger interpretation of Mount Vernon has evolved since its possession of the mansion in 1860, so have the decoration and furnishings of the first floor bedchamber?which the Washington?s knew as the ?Old Chamber.? The MVLA?s goal has always been to keep the rooms within the mansion ?as Washington left them.?

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Edward Everett

Edward Everett is, perhaps, best remembered as the other person who spoke at Gettysburg, lecturing for two hours compared to Abraham Lincoln?s brief, but much better-known two minute address. However, the full scope of Everett's life and his relationship with the Mount Vernon Estate are important historically as well.

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Elizabeth Bryant Johnston

Elizabeth Bryant Johnston (July 12, 1833-January 13, 1907) wrote, prepared, and owned the earliest Visitors? Guide to Mount Vernon (1876).[1] Johnston created new editions of the guidebook according to Mount Vernon Ladies? Association (MVLA) Guide Book Committee requests, and arranged for its printing and publication for twenty-two years.

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Foreign Leaders and Post World War II Diplomacy (1951-1955)

During the decade after World War II, Mount Vernon became an important space for visiting political leaders whose countries had received aid from the United States.

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Mount Vernon and American Domestic Architecture

Mount Vernon’s distinctive cupola; white, green, and red color scheme; and especially its long, square-columned piazza appear on houses in neighborhoods across the country. By duplicating or adapting these highly recognizable architectural elements, contemporary homeowners and real estate developers visually tie their homes to George Washington, American history, and more general values of patriotism and tradition.  

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Mount Vernon as Architectural Inspiration

By the end of World War II, Colonial American architectural features decorated hotels, restaurants, gas stations, shopping centers and other new businesses that hosted travelers along the country’s expanding road system.1 The popularity of Colonial Williamsburg (opened in the 1930s) and the use of historic architectural settings at Disneyland (opened in 1955) encouraged the use of the nation’s historic architecture in commercial settings just as Americans took to the highways in record numbers.

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Mount Vernon During World War II

Although Mount Vernon was near Washington, D.C., which was considered a prime target for attack during?

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Mount Vernon Guidebooks: 1876-1936

In the first sixty years of the Mount Vernon guidebooks, the Mount Vernon Ladies? Association (MVLA) advertised the plantation as an idyllic shrine to George Washington.

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Mount Vernon Guidebooks: 1937-1976

The Regents, Vice Regents and managerial staff of the Mount Vernon Ladies Association (MVLA) authorized significant physical and ideological alterations to the guidebooks during the mid-twentieth century. The most significant of these included an increased use of color photography, an emphasis on historical accuracy, and a minor expansion to the interpretation of slavery.

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Mount Vernon Ladies' Association: Early Fundraising

1. Introduction2. The Mount Vernon Record3. Early Methods

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MVLA Early Refurnishing Efforts: The Yellow Room

Located on the southeast corner of the second floor, the Yellow Room overlooks the Potomac River. It connects the central portion of the mansion to the south wing through a door installed by John Augustine Washington III in the 1840s.

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The Civil War Years

The outbreak of the Civil War provided significant challenges to the preservation of Mount Vernon, as the sectional crisis occurred during the infancy of the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association. The violent nature of the conflict could have destroyed Mount Vernon as a physical structure while also tearing up the personal threads that bound the nascent Association. Despite the challenges, the Association was able to keep the property protected and open to the public during the war.

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The Prince of Wales Visits Mount Vernon, 1860

The Prince of Wales visited Mount Vernon on October 5, 1860, the first time a member of the British royal family visited America and Mount Vernon. The Prince?s journey highlighted North American cities, governments, and important sites, and started the trend for foreign visitors to accompany the current President in exploring both Washington, D.C., and Mount Vernon.

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West Ford

West Ford was born about 1784 at Bushfield Plantation in present Mount Holly, Virginia. He grew up there with his mother Venus, and grandparents Billy and Jenny. Bushfield, 95 miles south of Mount Vernon, was the property of George Washington’s brother, John Augustine Washington and his wife, Hannah Bushrod Washington.

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