When you think about George Washington, what image comes to mind?
Washington the general?
Washington the president?
Perhaps, Washington the gentleman farmer of Mount Vernon?
But did you know that George Washington loved to read?
In this episode, we chat with Douglas Bradburn, the Founding Director of the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington, which serves as the George Washington Presidential Library.
About the Show
Ben Franklin’s World is a podcast about early American history.
It is a show for people who love history and for those who want to know more about the historical people and events that have impacted and shaped our present-day world.
Each episode features a conversation with an historian who helps us shed light on important people and events in early American history.
In this episode, Douglas Bradburn, the Founding Director of the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington, helps us discover more about George Washington the person by taking us on an exploration of his library.
During our conversation, Doug reveals why the Mount Vernon Ladies Association founded the George Washington Library; The work presidential libraries undertake and the challenges the George Washington Library deals with as a private, presidential library; And, details about George Washington, his reading habits, and his estate Mount Vernon.
What You’ll Discover
- The work Doug performs as the Director of the George Washington Presidential Library
- Information about the George Washington Presidential Library and its founding in 2013
- Overview of the Mount Vernon Ladies Association
- Information about presidential libraries and the presidential library system
- George Washington’s desire to build a library at Mount Vernon to house his military papers
- The mission of the Mount Vernon Ladies Association and the George Washington Library
- Challenges the George Washington Library faces as a private institution
- Overview of the books and materials will you find at the George Washington Library
- Strengths of the George Washington Library's collections
- Information about Bushrod Washington and his care for George Washington’s books and papers
- Locations of large portions of George Washington’s scattered library
- Benefits of the National Archives System
- Washington’s reading habits and favorite books
- How Washington came to own Mount Vernon and details about how he built a profitable estate
- Why Washington loved agriculture and husbandry
- How Washington came to marry Martha Dandridge Custis
- Operations of Washington’s distillery and gristmills
- The ways Mount Vernon shaped George Washington
- What we don’t know about George Washington
- Reading suggestions for those who want to discover more about George Washington
- Information about George Washington the slaveholder
- George Washington’s views toward Native Americans
Links to People, Places, and Publications
- Mount Vernon
- Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington (George Washington Presidential Library)
- George Washington Library on Twitter
- Mount Vernon Special Events Calendar
- Mount Vernon Membership Information
- Douglas Bradburn, The Citizenship Revolution: Politics and the Creation of the American Union, 1774-1804
- Ron Chernow, Washington: A Life
- Edward Lengel, General George Washington: A Military Life
- Joseph Ellis, His Excellency: George Washington
- Edward Larson, The Return of George Washington: 1783-1789
- Episode 029: Colin Calloway, The Victory with No Name
Time Warp Question
In your opinion what might have happened if Dr. Joseph Warren had not died at the Battle of Bunker Hill on June 17, 1775? Do you think Warren would have assisted Washington, been rivals with him, or perhaps become our nation’s first president instead of Washington?
Questions, Comments, Suggestions
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Get in Touch! Send me an e-mail, tweet, or leave a comment.
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