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Publications and Printed Material of the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association

 Collection — Box: 1-25
Identifier: A-PUBS

Scope and Contents

Educating the public on the life and legacy of George Washington, colonial life, slavery, and other relevant subjects is part of the MVLA's mission. The publication of books, brochures, and other printed material is one aspect of achieving this goal. This collection combines all printed formats published by the Mount Vernon Ladies' Associaton including books, booklets, brochures, information sheets, event announcements, bylaws, and handbooks or guidebooks. Annual Reports and the Minutes of the Council provide background and information on the yearly activities and business of the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association. The material includes a wide date range, 1854 to the present.


  • 1854-present

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 was founded in 1854 by Ann Pamela Cunningham. The purpose of the Association was to purchase Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington, in order to restore the property and open the grounds to visitors and admirers who desired to see Washington's house and tomb. Ann Pamela Cunningham became interested in the preservation of Mount Vernon when her mother, traveling down the Potomac River in 1853, viewed the house in its neglected and dilapidated state and wrote to her daughter of its condition. Both women thought it shameful to allow the first President's home to fall into ruin. A determined Ann Pamela Cunningham assembled twenty-two like-minded women together to raise money to purchase the property, pay off all debt, and return the gardens and grounds to the condition in which they were left by Washington himself. John Augustine Washington III, George Washington's great-grandnephew and the owner of Mount Vernon at the time, delayed several years in selling the home to the Ladies' Association. He preferred a sale to the State of Virginia or the federal government, both of which declined purchase. In 1858 he finally agreed to sell Mount Vernon to Ann Pamela Cunningham and the MVLA for $200,000.

Today the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association is remembered as the first organization dedicated to historic preservation in the United States. The Association remains loyal to its original goals, the restoration and care of George Washington's Mount Vernon, while also opening the estate to visitors 365 days a year. Members of the MVLA continue under the structure designed by the first Ladies' who joined, operating as the Executive Board with one Regent and Vice Regents from different states. The estate now consists of not only the Mansion and tomb of Washington, but restored gardens, outbuildings, a Pioneer Farm, Gristmill, Distillery, museum and orientation center, National Library for the Study of George Washington, gift shops, food pavilion, and a restaurant.


to be updated Volumes

Language of Materials



This collection is divided into series based on format and type of publication. All publications within each series are filed in alphabetical order by title, then in chronological order. This is the list of series: Series 1. Books Series 2. Booklets Series 3. Brochures Series 4. Bylaws, Charters, Constitution Series 5. Handbooks, Guidebooks Series 6. Minutes Series 7. Reports

Related Materials

Publications - History of Mount Vernon and George Washington. This collection contains publications relating to the history of Mount Vernon and/or George Washington that are not published by the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association.

Publications and Printed Material of the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association
Rebecca Baird, Project Archivist
January 2016
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

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

PO Box 3600
Mount Vernon VA 22121 USA