Audio Visual Collection
Scope and Contents
This collection includes audio and video resources related to Mount Vernon, the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association, and George Washington. Many audio and video recordings in the collection were either produced by, or made in cooperation with, the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association. However, there are also AV productions made by other institutions, corporations, and media companies. Content includes footage and recordings of events, interviews, lectures, VIP visitors, and views of the estate. Several documentaries, news broadcasts, and syndicated radio or television programs are also included as they pertain to the history of Mount Vernon. Highlights of the collection include: Pictorial Reports of the estate during the years 1955-1970 which feature footage of several famous visitors such as President Eisenhower, Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon, and Fidel Castro; a feature film with B-Roll footage by travelogue filmmaker Andre de la Varre; video and audio recordings of Vice Regents and Mount Vernon staff. Most film reels have been digitized and are available by links within individual catalog records or via written/email request.
- Majority of material found within 1928-2015
Conditions Governing Use
Material can be reproduced for study or personal use upon written approval from the Chief Librarian and Archivist.
Mount Vernon and the MVLA do not own copyright for every item in this collection. We provide access to these materials, however the researcher is responsible for discerning proper use according to copyright laws.
Biographical / Historical
The Mount Vernon Ladies' Association of the Union was founded in 1853 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, saw 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 women of like mind 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.
The MVLA is the owner and executive board of Mount Vernon. Membership is made up of one Regent and 20-30 Vice Regents, each from a different state. All MVLA members assemble twice a year in April and October for Council, where they hear motions and reports concerning projects or issues at the estate. The Vice Regents also divide into committees focused on different functions and operations, and rotate members every few years. Today the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association is remembered as the first organization dedicated to historic preservation in the United States, and as innovators in the field of preservation. The Association remains loyal to its original goals, the restoration and care of Mount Vernon, and educating people all over the world about George Washington’s life and legacy. Mount Vernon is open to visitors 365 days a year. The estate now consists of not only the Mansion and tomb of Washington, but restored gardens, outbuildings, Pioneer Farm, Gristmill, Distillery, museum and orientation center, the National Library for the Study of George Washington, gift shops, food pavilion, and the Mount Vernon Inn restaurant.
approx. 35 Linear Feet (14 boxes (various sizes), and approximately 100 film reels in film cans on shelves)
Language of Materials
The Audio Visual Collection is divided into two series, Audio and Video. These are further broken down into multiple sub-series according to physical format. Each sub-series lists items alphabetically by title. The series and subseries are arranged as follows:
Audio -Audio Cassette Tapes -Compact Discs -LP Records -Magnetic Tape Audio Reels
Video -Betamax -DVD -Film Reels -Laserdisc -Umatic -VHS -Videotape
- Audio Visual Collection
- Milan Cook, intern and Rebecca Baird, archivist
- August 2018
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Code for undetermined script