Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Washingtoniana Collection, 1602-1932

Finding aid created by
Philip Heslip, February 2011

Summary Information
Title: Washingtoniana collection
Creator: William L. Clements Library
Inclusive dates: 1602-1932
Extent: 0.25 linear feet
The Washingtoniana collection (approximately 160 items) contains letters and documents concerning George Washington and his extended family, as well as items that discuss Washington and his legacy.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site:

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

M-4511 et al.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

Cataloging funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the "We the People" project.

Preferred Citation:

Washingtoniana Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


This collection is arranged chronologically.


George Washington (1732--1799), commander-in-chief of the Continental Army and first President of the United States, was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia, to Augustine Washington and Mary Ball. In 1753, Washington entered the Virginia militia as a major. After several skirmishes with the French in Ohio Country, the enemy captured him at Fort Necessity in July 1754. The French allowed him to return to Virginia, but the clash set in motion a greater conflict between France and England in North America. In 1755, Virginia Governor Robert Dinwiddie appointed him commander-in-chief of the Virginia Regiment. Washington participated in several battles in the French and Indian War, and left the service in 1778.

Washington married Martha Dandridge Custis on January 6, 1759. They had no children. In 1775, the Second Continental Congress appointed him commander-in-chief of the Continental Army, a post he held until the American army defeated the British in 1783. Washington forced the British out of Boston in 1776, but the British chased the Continental army out of New York later that year. In 1777, Washington suffered defeats at Brandywine and Germantown, and his troops suffered a harsh 1777-1778 winter at Valley Forge. In 1778, Washington drove the British from Philadelphia and fought them at Monmouth, New Jersey. In the autumn of 1781, the British surrendered at Yorktown, Virginia, ending the major military engagements of the war. Washington left military service in December 1783.

Washington enjoyed a brief retirement from public life, but in 1787 served as president for the Constitutional Convention. The newly formed Electoral College unanimously nominated him 1st President of the United States in 1789 and 1793. Finally, Washington retired from public life in 1797 and returned to Mount Vernon. He died there on December 14, 1799.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The Washingtoniana collection (160 items) contains letters and documents concerning George Washington and his extended family, as well as items that discuss Washington and his legacy. The collection contains 73 items written during Washington's lifetime, 79 after his death, and 8 undated items. The collection consists of memorials, essays, sermons, speeches, and letters mentioning and discussing Washington. Also included are items related to Washington's estate and his extended family.

Family members involved include:

  • Augustine Washington
  • Bailey Washington
  • Bushrod Washington
  • Corbin Washington
  • George Corbin Washington
  • Henry Augustine Washington
  • Hobarth Washington
  • J.M. Washington
  • Jane C. Washington
  • John A. Washington
  • John H. Washington
  • Julia E Washington
  • L.Q. Washington
  • Lawrence Washington
  • Louis Washington
  • Marie Washington
  • Martha Washington
  • P.G. Washington
  • R.C. Washington
  • Richard Washington
  • Richard Blackburn Washington
  • S.T. Washington
  • Samuel Washington
  • Sarah Washington
  • T.B. Washington
  • Warner Washington
  • William Washington
  • William Augustine Washington
  • William Townshend Washington

Examples of items:

  • 1602: Washington family deed signed by Lawrence and Hobarth Washington
  • December 9 and 18, 1796: Moses Everett to H. Everett on hearing Washington speak and meeting both George and Martha Washington
  • December 18, 1799: Jonathan Bayard Smith to Robert Frazer, regarding the death of Washington and its effect on Congress and the citizens of Philadelphia
  • 1800: Pamphlet "Eulogy on General Washington," by John A.M. Andrews
  • March 1, 1809: Henry Lee legal document concerning debt, collateral, and accumulated interest of Henry Lee to Bushrod Washington
  • 1825 August 27: William Townshend Washington, Letter of expatriation written from the Harbor of Smyrna
  • c.1830: [George Washington Parke Custis]: "Custis Recollections of the Life & Character of Washington," including two reminiscences: "The Levee" and "The Drawing Room"
  • March 1844: Mary E. Custis essay on "The Tomb of Washington"
  • February 22, 1849: Jarvis M. Hatch's address to the Utica Lodge, number 47 of Freemasons on the anniversary of the birth of George Washington
  • May 8, 1760: Jared Sparks to George Henry Moore concerning General Charles Lee's contact with General Howe in 1777, and his thoughts on Valley Forge
  • July 22, 1762: Edward Everett to Charles A. Dana concerning his biography of Washington
  • Undated: One pink and one olive-colored ribbon with a pictures of George Washington and the words "Washington Literary Association"
Subject Terms

    • Grief--Political aspects--United States--History--18th century.
    • Washington, George, 1732-1799--Anniversaries, etc.
    • Washington, George, 1732-1799--Death and burial.
    • Washington, George, 1732-1799—-Estate.
    • Washington, George, 1732-1799--Family.
    • Washington, George, 1732-1799--On postage stamps.
    • Washington, George, 1732-1799--Public opinion.
    Subjects - Visual Materials:
    • Washington, George, 1732-1799.
    • Hooker, Asahel, 1762-1813.
    • Knox, Henry, 1750-1806.
    • Sparks, Jared, 1789-1866.
    • Washington, Bailey, 1787-1854.
    • Washington, Bushrod, 1762-1829.
    • Washington, Corbin, 1765-1799.
    • Washington, George Corbin, 1789-1854.
    • Washington, H. A. (Henry Augustine), 1820-1858.
    • Washington, John Augustine, 1736-1787.
    • Washington, Lund, 1737-1796.
    Genre Terms:
    • Accounts.
    • Clippings (information artifacts)
    • Deeds.
    • Essays.
    • Financial papers.
    • Legal documents.
    • Letters (correspondence)
    • Sermons.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Washingtoniana collection [series]
    Volume   1  
    Washington Family Deed,  1602
    Box   1  
    Box   2  
    Drawer   : Oversize Manuscripts  
    Prince William County, Virginia, Land Deed,  1740 August 28
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Related Materials

    The Clements Library's George Washington collection contains letters written by George Washington.