Primary Sources About George Washington, Father of Our Country

As commander-in-chief of the Continental Army, George Washington led American troops to victory against the more powerful British forces in the Revolutionary War. After the war, he presided over the Constitutional Convention and was elected as the first president of the United States.

Biographies of George Washington

The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association’s biography of Washington provides detail on his early life.

The University of Virginia’s Miller Center of Public Affairs provides a detailed biography of Washington focusing on his presidency and his life in politics. It also includes several of his speeches and profiles of his cabinet members.

“Life of George Washington” was a biography released in 1807 by David Ramsay, who served alongside Washington as a delegate to the Continental Congress. The book is available in its entirety from Archiving Early America.

Washington Primary Source Material

The University of Virginia has the definitive collection of Washington’s papers, holding over 135,000 documents in its library. The University of Virginia Press has published many of these documents as “The Papers of George Washington,” which are available online for a fee. Virginia has made thousands of these documents are available without charge at Founders Early Access.

UVA also offers a selection of important documents from the collection, which include images of the original documents, and lesson plans for teachers that explain how to use to documents in the classroom.

The Library of Congress holds 65,000 Washington documents—comprised of 152,000 scanned images—in its collection. It also has a collection of maps drawn or annotated by Washington, and a list of other collections relating to Washington.

John C. Fitzpatrick’s “The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources”
 is a 39-volume collection of Washington letters that was edited by Fitzpatrick in 1931-44.