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    George Washington's copy

    George Washington Signed Book From His Library Bearing His Bookplate. A View of the History of Great-Britain during the Administration of Lord North, to the Second Session of the Fifteenth Parliament. In Two Parts. With Statements of the Public Expenditure in that Period. London: Printed for G. Wilkie, 1782. George Washington has placed his illustrious signature at the upper right corner of the title page: "Go: Washington." 8vo, ii, 411 pages. Errata in rear. Leather over boards with title label on spine. Five raised bands. Half of the spine covering is removed exposing the text block and binding cords. Front and rear hinges and joints are cracked and both boards remain attached by the biding cords. Despite the damage, the binding remains tight. Corners are bumped and edges are worn. Pages are clean with very light, scattered foxing throughout. Housed in a maroon cloth slipcase with integral chemise within a beautiful, custom full Morocco case with title and "George Washington's Copy" in gilt on the spine. Case shows minor discoloration.

    Of note is the existence of an authentic personal bookplate of General Washington's, measuring 2.5" x 3.75", affixed to the front pastedown endpaper. The motto Exitus acta probat (The Outcome Justifies the Deed) is printed across the ribbon at the base of the shell-like shield, which is ornamented with sprays and rose branches. Washington's name is engraved on the bracket at the bottom. In the past, many forgeries and re-strikes have fooled collectors looking for original Washington bookplates. The present example is an original with these points: chain-lines in the paper, and the small line near the bottom-right of the shield, which is present on the authentic plate, but not in the more widely available re-strike used in the late-nineteenth century.

    Also located in the rear of the book is a Lawrence Washington Autograph Letter of Provenance Signed, 5" x 8", Philadelphia, March 6, 1891. It reads, in part: "Lot No. 19 of the "Baker" Sale of books &c, in February 1891, made by Thomas Brick's Sons, Philadelphia, entitled "View of the History of Great Britain during the Administration of Lord North to the Second Session of the Fifteenth Parliament, etc," London, 1782, bearing the autograph of Go. Washington on title and his bookplate...this volume was inherited by me and is from the Library of General George Washington at Mount Vernon." Lawrence Washington inherited George Washington's library from his grandfather, John A. Washington, who had in turn inherited the library from his uncle, Judge Bushrod Washington, the favorite nephew of George Washington.

    The library at Mount Vernon, inventoried at the time of death of George Washington, held around 1,000 books. They consisted of over 40 military books, 40 books of a religious nature, as well as books on law, science, geography, and travel. Books of history, modern and classical literature, politics, and agriculture made up the vast majority of the collection. During his tenure as president, his personal library increased due to the influx of gifts sent to him unsolicited from all over the world.

    Reference: Warren, Jack D. 1995. The Papers of George Washington. (accessed March 8, 2012).

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2012
    11th-12th Wednesday-Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 5
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 6,240

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