Acts of Congress 1789: Includes the Constitution and the Bill of Rights Info
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Mount Vernon introduces replica of Acts of Congress,
exquisite copy of history-making volume unveiled for library
It was a book that made history, owned and treasured by
the man whose ideas and values shaped the founding of a nation.
Purchased for $9.8 million by the Mount Vernon Ladies’
Association, George Washington’s personal copy of the Acts of
Congress captured headlines around the globe in 2012 when it set a
new auction record, returning to the hands of the organization that
safeguards his life and legacy.
This fascinating volume is now
back home at Washington’s Virginia estate, and the Mount Vernon
Ladies’ Association has designed a stunning reproduction—a
must-have for history lovers who were captivated by the story of the
book’s remarkable rescue and return.
In his own personal
copy of the Constitution, included in the Acts, George Washington
carefully took note of the roles and responsibilities he would
undertake as the first democratically elected leader of a republican
government. It was not an office he sought, but one that he accepted,
bending to his country’s voice “with veneration and
love.” He received the vote of all sixty-nine electors making him
the only unanimously elected president. The precedents that Washington
established as the leader of a new nation have endured for more than 225
years, and so, too, has his personal copy of the document that served
as his guide.
First published in September 1789, the original
volume is in remarkable condition. On the cover, still shiny gilt
letters spell out the title of the book’s owner, “President
of the United States,” while a decorative gold pattern adorns its
spine. The inside cover bears Washington’s bookplate, a personal
touch that he reserved for his most cherished volumes, and the title
page bears his signature. He brought the book back to his Mount Vernon
estate upon retiring from the presidency in 1797, and it remained there
until his death.
Since its purchase by the Mount Vernon
Ladies’ Association, tens of thousands of Washington admirers have
viewed the Acts in temporary exhibitions at Mount Vernon and at
all thirteen presidential libraries. Marveling at the book’s
significance to the founding of the United States and at the insights it
offers into the mind of its first leader, they have expressed a desire
to thumb through its fragile pages to read more of Washington’s
notes. This new reproduction book will enable them to do so, and to
discuss and reflect upon the significance of the words with friends,
family, students, and colleagues.
To replicate the
original volume in an authentic manner, each component of the
106-page-book is painstakingly designed to match the original. The pages
are yellowed slightly to show the effects of passing centuries. Ink
smudges and flourishes mimic the imperfect printing processes of the
18th century. The leather cover is aged to appear slightly worn, and the
variations in its gold accents mirror the ones found on
Washington’s volume. The replica also copies, line for line,
Washington’s margin notes—the penciled words and neat
bracket drawings that point to the duties that he considered most
The book’s release coincides with the opening of
The Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington
at Mount Vernon in fall 2013.
This slipcased collection includes a
companion booklet by George Washington authority and historian Tom
Allen, which outlines the genesis of Washington's personal copy of the
Acts of Congress and its journey returning to Mount Vernon.