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AMFELLOWS  September 2000

AMFELLOWS September 2000

Subject:

Additional of George Washington Diaries to the American Memory online

From:

"Elizabeth L. Brown" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

American Memory Fellows <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 15 Sep 2000 10:11:47 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (87 lines)

This announcement is being sent to a number of lists. Please accept our
apologies for any duplicate postings.

The National Digital Library Program and the Manuscript Division at the
Library of Congress and the University Press of Virginia are pleased to
announce the release of the documentary edition The Diaries of George
Washington on the American Memory Collections Web site at
<http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/gwhtml/> The Diaries are the work of the
editors of The Papers of George Washington at the University of
Virginia. Also included in this release is the remainder of Series 4,
General Correspondence, completing the online presentation of the George
Washington Papers at the Library of Congress.

George Washington's diaries (1748-1799) offer a unique window into the
daily life of the most celebrated founder of the United States. Unlike
Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, and Benjamin Franklin,
Washington kept a daily diary for much of his life, from his first
surveying trip in 1748 until December 13, 1799, the day before his
death. The Library of Congress holds thirty-seven of fifty-one known
diary volumes and diary fragments. The published documentary edition,
The Diaries of George Washington, edited by Donald Jackson and Dorothy
Twohig, includes all fifty-one diaries and diary fragments. This release
makes all these materials available to the public as searchable text and
as bitonal and grayscale page images. The Diaries are one of six series
in the documentary edition The Papers of George Washington
(http://www.virginia.edu/gwpapers/) published by the University Press of
Virginia (http://www.upress.virginia.edu/index.html).

The documentary edition provides diary introductions and annotations
that identify all persons mentioned in the texts, explain their
relationship to Washington and his activities, and are often accompanied
by portrait reproductions. The editors have identified the slaves and
white artisans Washington employed on his farms, as well as the plants,
crops, implements, and mechanical devices with which he experimented.
Historical background about major events in Washington's life clarifies
and enriches the significance of the diary texts. The volumes feature a
variety of maps and illustrations.

During the course of his life Washington kept many different kinds of
diaries: travel diaries; diaries devoted to specific events; and most
consistently daily diaries of weather, work, and events at Mount Vernon
and his various farms. He kept diaries during his visit to Barbados in
1751-52 with his half-brother Lawrence who was seeking to recover his
health; and for his expeditions to the Ohio River region in 1753-54,
during the preliminary phases of the French and Indian (or Seven Year)
War. He began his Revolutionary War diary at Yorktown in 1781, lamenting
"not having attempted it from the commencement of the War, . . . ." At
the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787, Washington sent
to Mount Vernon for his current diary volume so he could maintain it
while he presided over the convention's proceedings. Significant diaries
for Washington's presidency from 1789-1796 survive in the form of
journals of presidential tours of New England in 1789 and of the South
in 1791.

Washington began keeping daily diaries of his life at Mount Vernon by
1760. Mount Vernon became his property in 1758, and eventually it
consisted of five separate farms. Washington was devoted to its
expansion and development, and the "diaries are a monument to that
concern," as the editors of the documentary edition note (vol. I, p.
xxvi). Often kept in the blank pages of published Virginia almanacs,
Washington's entries record family, neighborhood, and local events;
weather; and most importantly his transition from planter to farmer,
from his early frustrating efforts with the cash crop tobacco to a
commitment to diversification and production for a domestic market and
his abiding interest in experimentation with the latest agricultural
methods. Shortly before his death, Washington was drafting yet another
plan for crop rotation and new farming operations.

The definitive transcriptions, introductory essays, and rich annotation
provided by The Diaries of George Washington offer a unique opportunity
to explore the thoughts, activities, and historical world of one of our
nation's essential founders. The online presentation of these materials
now makes them available to a much wider audience than ever before.

Please direct all questions to [log in to unmask]
  _________________________________________________________

    Elizabeth L. Brown
    Automated Reference Services Librarian
    National Digital Library Program, LIBN/NDL/LC(1330)
    Library of Congress, Washington, DC 20540-1330
    [log in to unmask] telephone: 202/707-2235

    Library of Congress American Memory Home Page:
    http://memory.loc.gov/
_________________________________________________________

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