SMU’s DeGolyer Library displays
George Washington’s copy of the U.S. Constitution

'Hail to the Chief: Presidential History in Word and Image' exhibit to run through Oct. 4, 2013

 

July 21, 2013

DALLAS (SMU) – George Washington’s personal copy of the Acts of Congress — including the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights and other legislation passed by the first session of Congress — is on public display at SMU’s DeGolyer Library through July 27.

In addition, Washington's book heralds DeGolyer's summer exhibit, “Hail to the Chief: American Presidential History in Word and Image,” through Oct. 4, 2013.

About the Exhibit of Washington's Acts of Congress

The 106-page volume is emblazoned with Washington’s bookplate and includes his handwritten notes in the margins.

DeGolyer Library is the document’s ninth stop on a seven-month, 13-stop tour of presidential libraries sponsored by the National Archives and the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association. The DeGolyer exhibit is sponsored by the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, which opened May 1 on the SMU campus.

George Washington’s Acts of Congress was purchased at auction last year by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association for $9.8 million. One of only 30 known copies, it was prepared in 1789 by the official printer of Congress. Bound volumes of legislation were created as permanent keepsakes for national leaders. Washington received his book in 1789, his first year as president, and brought it with him to Mount Vernon in 1797 at his retirement.

After this year it will be permanently displayed at the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington at Mount Vernon, under construction by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association.

“Hail to the Chief: American Presidential History in Word and Image,”

George WashingtonThrough Oct. 4, DeGolyer is offering exhibit of presidential memorabilia such as campaign biographies, letters, posters, buttons, cartoons, inaugural medals, photographs and other artifacts, from George Washington to Barack Obama.

The exhibition includes the first political buttons, bronze inaugural buttons designed to be sewn on to clothing in honor of George Washington’s inauguration. The Washington button features 13 joined rings around the perimeter representing the original 13 states. “Hail to the Chief” also includes other campaign memorabilia – from  medals and lapel pins from William Henry Harrison’s campaign –  to bumper stickers for Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama.

Rare lithographs and first edition books dating to 1784 are displayed, including the 1809 M.L.  Weems Washington biography, which includes one of the first mentions of the legendary cherry tree Washington myth.

More recent items include “Dear Dallas” letters written to Dallas mayor Earle Cabell after the Kennedy assassination and an invitation to the luncheon Kennedy never attended on his Dallas visit.

The exhibit features items from various DeGolyer collections, including the Hervey A. Priddy Collection of American Presidential and Political Memorabilia and the Doris A. and Lawrence H. Budner Theodore Roosevelt Collection.

Events at a Glance

What: George Washington’s personal copy of the Acts of Congress, which includes the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights and other legislation passed by the first session of Congress, displayed as part of the SMU DeGolyer Library exhibit,  “Hail to the Chief: American Presidential History in Word and Image.”
Where:

DeGolyer Library
Fondren Library West
6404 Hyer Lane, SMU
DeGolyer Library is located on the east side of SMU's Main Quad, near the main fountain.

When: “George Washington’s Acts of Congress,”
July 14 - 27
Noon to 5 p.m., Sunday, July 14
8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday - Friday
8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m., Saturday, July 20
Noon - 5 p.m., Sunday, July 21
8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m., Saturday, July 27


“Hail to the Chief:
American Presidential History in Word and Image,”
July 14 - Oct. 4
8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday - Friday
8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m., Saturday, July 20
Noon - 5 p.m., Sunday, July 21
8:30 p.m. - 5 p.m., Saturday, July 27
Cost: Free and open to the public
Parking: Visitors may park in designated areas, including Binkley Parking Garage at 3105 Binkley Avenue and Moody Parking Garage at 3063 SMU Boulevard. (Click here to see or download parking maps.)
You can also ride the Mustang Express (Route 768) from Mockingbird Station to campus.

About George Washington

George Washington was the first President of the United States (1789–1797), the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. He presided over the convention that drafted the U.S. Constitution, which replaced the Articles of Confederation and established the position of President.

About DeGolyer Library

DeGolyer Library at SMUDeGolyer Library is the principal repository at SMU for special collections in the humanities, the history of business, and the history of science and technology. Its rare books, manuscripts, photographs, maps, and other materials are available to all SMU students, faculty, visiting scholars, and other researchers. DeGolyer Library’s holdings of primary sources are complemented by exhibitions, lectures, publications, and other programs.

News Media Contact:

Nancy George
214-768-7674 or 972-965-3769 (cell)
ngeorge@smu.edu

High-res images available upon request.