Guest Books and Visitor Registers
Scope and Contents
This is a collection of large ledgers or books with the signatures and autographs of Mount Vernon visitors and special guests. The books date from 1850 to the present day and some registers overlap in date.
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open for research during scheduled appointments. Researchers must complete the Washington Library’s Special Collections and Archives Registration Form before access is provided. The library reserves the right to restrict access to certain items for preservation purposes.
Biographical / Historical
The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association has kept a record of visitors since at least 1869. One visitor register, dated 1850-1852 and kept by John Augustine Washington III, was signed by visitors who arrived to Mount Vernon by steamboat. In the earliest days of MVLA ownership, all visitors to Mount Vernon could sign the large ledgers left in the mansion or elsewhere on the property. When the amount of visitors grew too numerous to record them all, the practice changed and only VIP or special guests signed the registers. This policy continues to the present day. The guest books chronicle an interesting history of visitors to Mount Vernon, from the everyday visitor to celebrities and even royalty. The current guest book continues to be signed when special guests visit the estate.
Language of Materials
The collection is listed here in chronological order.
- Rebecca Baird, Project Archivist
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description