Washington’s copy of the Acts of Congress on display at Bush Library
COLLEGE STATION, TX - President George Washington's personal copy of the Laws of the United States, First Session 1789, also known as the Acts of Congress, will be on display from Aug. 26 to Sept.
COLLEGE STATION, TX – President George Washington’s personal copy of the Laws of the United States, First Session 1789, also known as the Acts of Congress, will be on display from Aug. 26 to Sept. 9, 2013 at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum at Texas A&M University.
The remarkably well-preserved book, owned by George Washington’s Mount Vernon, includes the president’s copy of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and other legislation passed by the first session of Congress, complete with his personal annotations.
Through a special partnership between Washington’s home, Mount Vernon, and the National Archives, this loan of the Acts of Congress is one of many stops on its nationwide tour to each of the thirteen Presidential Libraries. Individuals and families will have a chance to become part of history by offering their personal reflections on the Constitution and the American Presidency in a comment book provided by Mount Vernon.
The 106-page Acts of Congress is emblazoned with Washington’s bookplate and features his handwritten notes penciled in the margins. Washington received the book in 1789, his first year in office as president, and brought it with him to Mount Vernon upon his retirement from public office in 1797. One of the early customs for the Congress’ official printer was to prepare bound copies of the acts passed by the legislative branch which would be presented as permanent keepsakes for the country’s leaders. Prominent recipients included Thomas Jefferson, John Jay, and George Washington, who all received these beautifully bound versions of the book, which were almost as artful to the eye as they were delicate to the touch.
This rare volume garnered worldwide attention last summer when it was offered for sale and broke world records for an American historical document at auction, where it sold for $9.8 million.
The Bush Library and Museum will have an exhibit opening reception and lecture Aug. 27. Richard Brookhiser, author and renowned presidential historian, will discuss the significance of President Washington’s personal copy of the Laws of the United States.
For more information about the exhibit and opening event at the Bush Library and Museum, go to bushlibrary.tamu.edu/exhibits/2013-acts_of_congress.