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Series 5. Harrison M. Symmes, 1977-1979


Scope and Contents

From the Collection:

This collection combines the papers and files of each Superintendent or Resident Director listed under “Creators,” as well as their office staff, assistants, and other Mount Vernon personnel. The bulk of this collection consists of correspondence to and from each Superintendent or Resident Director. Other types of material include reports, essays, memos, publications, clippings, official forms, logs or diaries of events, calendars, schedules, photographs, and ephemera. Subject matter includes a wide variety of topics and concerns for operating and maintaining an historic house. The Resident Directors oversaw almost all major projects and events around Mount Vernon such as building and grounds maintenance, restoration, fundraising, collection of historic artifacts, visitor engagement, and administrative functions. Dodge and Wall were both well known for their involvement in even the smallest details of the operation of Mount Vernon and this is reflected in the volume and scope of their files. Later Resident Directors began keeping chronological files which are also a great resource for understanding projects from specific years and periods of Mount Vernon’s history. Both Charles Wall and John Castellani were employees of Mount Vernon before they were appointed Resident Director, and their files include material from previous job assignments. The majority of material reflects Charles Wall’s tenure as Resident Director, the 1930s to 1970s, however, there is a substantial amount from the other directors as well. Several folders may extend into the term of James (Jim) Rees who served as Resident Director (later President) of Mount Vernon from 1994 to 2012. Most of the letters written by Superintendent Harrison Dodge were laminated or adhered to a tissue or paper backing, and bound together into a multiple volume set. These bound volumes, along with the original work diaries kept by Dodge, have been combined into a separate collection, the Bound Volumes of Superintendent’s Letters, Diaries, and Monthly Reports. A finding aid for this collection is also available.


  • Creation: 1977-1979


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to research during scheduled appointments. Researchers must complete the Washington Library’s Special Collections and Archives Registration Form before access is provided. According to the policies of the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, certain records in the archives may only be available for research 30 years after creation or file date. The library reserves the right to restrict access to items for preservation purposes.


From the Collection: 60 Linear Feet (52 cubic feet boxes, 5 full Hollinger boxes, 3 half Hollinger boxes, and 4 oversize manuscript boxes)

Language of Materials



Alphabetically by folder title, then chronologically.

Repository Details

Part of the Archives of the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association Repository

PO Box 3600
Mount Vernon VA 22121 USA