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Lawrence Washington collection of Washington family papers

 Collection — Shelf: Special Collections: Closed Stacks Row 22
Identifier: RM-518-RM-523-RM-524

Scope and Contents

A large portion of this collection consists of letters to and from John Augustine Washington III related to the sale of Mount Vernon. Other items include family wills, legal documents, receipts, correspondence related to Washington relics, as well as several photographs and miscellany. Inclusive dates, 1787-1932.


  • Majority of material found within 1787-1932


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

Lawrence Washington, 1854-1920: Lawrence Washington was the fifth child and eldest son of John Augustine Washington III and Eleanor Love Selden Washington. He was born at Mount Vernon on January 14, 1854. He married Frances Willis Lackland on June 14, 1876, and the couple had twelve children, including Anne Madison and Patty Willis Washington, who inherited a large collection of Washington relics from their father.

John Augustine Washington III, 1821-1861: John Augustine Washington was the great-grandnephew of George Washington and the last Washington to own Mount Vernon before its sale to the Mount Vernon Ladies Association (MVLA). He was born on May 3, 1821 to John Augustine Washington II and Jane Charlotte Blackburn Washington. He graduated from the University of Virginia in 1840, and returned to Mount Vernon to manage the declining estate with his widowed mother’s permission. In 1843, he married Eleanor Love Selden with whom he had seven children. He sold 200 acres of Mount Vernon to the MVLA in 1858 for $200,000, and he and his family moved to Waveland plantation in Fauquier County, Virginia in 1860. He served as aide-de-camp to General Robert E. Lee, but was shot by a bushwhacker and died one week later on September 13, 1861. Jane Charlotte Blackburn Washington, 1786-1855: Jane Charlotte Blackburn was born on August 23, 1786 at Rippon Lodge, Prince William, Virginia to Major Richard Scott Blackburn and Judith Blackburn. She married John Augustine Washington II and had five children, three of whom lived to adulthood – Anna Maria Thomasina Washington Alexander, John Augustine Washington III, and Richard Scott Blackburn Thomas. The couple lived at Blakely plantation near Charles Town, West Virginia, until the death of Bushrod Washington in 1829, who left the property of Mount Vernon to John Augustine Washington II in his will. When her husband died in 1832, Jane Charlotte Washington inherited Mount Vernon and vowed to maintain the estate to the best of her ability. She insisted her oldest son, John Augustine Washington III, attend college to better prepare him to someday manage the family’s properties. He graduated from the University of Virginia in 1840 and a year later began overseeing all business at Mount Vernon for his mother. Jane Charlotte Washington died in 1855 and is buried at Mount Vernon with her husband.


2 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Chronological, with undated material at the end.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection of family papers was received as a gift in three installments from Lawrence Washington of Alexandria, a descendant of Lawrence Washington, 1854-1920. The gift was accessioned in 1977.

Related Materials

Additional manuscripts related to John Augustine Washington III and his family can be found in the Historic Manuscript Collection, Elswyth Thane Beebe Collection of Washington Family Papers, John Augustine Washington III and Eleanor Love Selden Correspondence, John Augustine Washington III and descendants papers, John Augustine Washington III and Mount Vernon Ladies' Association (MVLA) Collection.

Separated Materials

The original donation of material included 54 letters to and from Ann Pamela Cunningham and John Augustine Washington III. These letters were separated and added to the Early Records of the MVLA collection (MVLA Archives).

Lawrence Washington collection of Washington family papers
Katherine Hoarn, Special Collections Librarian and Rebecca Baird, Archivist
February 2020; updated February 2022
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections at The George Washington Presidential Library at Mount Vernon Repository

PO Box 3600
Mount Vernon VA 22121