A Book Comes Home

The Compleat Surveyor makes its way to Mount Vernon.

Photo courtesy of the Washington Library  

George Washington, a passionate outdoorsman, was just 17 when he started his career as a land surveyor for Culpeper County. The founding father kept a 1679 edition of The Compleat Surveyor by William Leybourn for more than 50 years. Washington’s Mount Vernon estate acquired the former president’s personal copy, complete with handwritten notes, in time for the fifth anniversary of the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington—which safeguards Washington’s papers, manuscripts, and books, as well as thousands of important 19th-century documents—in September. “This is a truly remarkable acquisition,” says the library’s executive director Kevin Butterfield, adding that Washington used the book “as a very young man, to learn an immense amount about how to survey land.” MountVernon.org

Upcoming Events at Mount Vernon:

Feb. 18 — Washington’s Birthday Celebration

Feb. 26 & March 19 — National Symphony Orchestra at Mount Vernon

May 4-5 — Revolutionary War Weekend

May 17-19 — Spring Wine Festival & Sunset Tour

June 1 — Martha Washington’s Birthday Celebration


This article originally appeared in our December 2018 issue.

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