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Advertisement Washington's copy of Constitution on display at Hoover Library
News · August 02, 2013


Just in time for Hoover’s Hometown Days, George Washington’s personal copy of the Constitution, Acts of Congress, will be on display at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library-Museum between July 30 and Aug. 11.


As part of a nationwide tour, the Acts of Congress is traveling to each of the 13 Presidential Libraries through a special partnership between Washington’s home, Mount Vernon, and the National Archives.

The remarkably well-preserved book includes Washington’s copy of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and other legislation passed by the first session of Congress, complete with his personal annotations. Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero said, “We are grateful to the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association for sharing the First President’s original documents with our Presidential Libraries across the country.”

This rare volume garnered worldwide attention last summer when it was offered for sale and then broke world records for an American historical document at auction. 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 U.S. 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 our first president, 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.

The tour of the Acts of Congress began at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., and continues on to the other presidential libraries.

Also featured is Washington’s two-volume set of John Locke’s, “An Essay on Human Understanding,” owned by Hoover, and other items related to the Bicentennial of Washington’s birth (1732-1932).

It will be on display at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library from July 30 – August 11, before continuing on to the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library in Hyde Park, NY.

The Herbert Hoover Presidential Library-Museum is located in West Branch, Iowa, a quarter mile off Interstate 80 at Exit 254. The Museum is open daily from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. For more information regarding this exhibit, www.archives.gov/exhibits/acts-of-congress

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