As reported earlier at nixonfoundation.org, George Washington’s personal copy of the Constitution and Bill of Rights of the United States, in book form, went on display yesterday at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library, following an unveiling ceremony featuring remarks by Congressman Ed Royce. The historic volume, which previously could be seen at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, will be in Yorba Linda for two weeks, before continuing to other Presidential libraries. Afterwards, it will enter its permanent home in the new Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington, on the grounds of Mount Vernon.
Daniel Langhorne’s article in the Orange County Register this week describes how the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, the organization which has maintained and protected the first President’s home since the 1850s, acquired Washington’s copy of the Constitution for $9.8 million last June at a Christie’s auction – the highest price ever paid for a historical document at that establishment.
The article describes the provenance of the book, noting that at one time it belonged to another famed American, newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst. But almost 140 years after a Washington greatnephew sold it and it left Mount Vernon, it is happy news to hear that this book, and its invaluable contents which the Father of his Country played an invaluable part in making the law of the land, will once again be present by the shores of the Potomac, forming the centerpiece to one of the most important of all American archives.