Washington's copy of the Constitution on display at Carter Library
by Christina A. Cassidy, Associated Press
June 06, 2013 11:35 PM | 978 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
George Washington's personal, annotated copy of the Constitution is displayed at right, next to former President Jimmy Carter's "The Duties of the President of the Unites States of America," at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library & Museum, Thursday, June 6, 2013, in Atlanta. Washington's copy of the Constitution known as "The Acts of Congress," will be on display Friday and through June 24 at the library in Atlanta. It's considered among the most important items owned by Washington. The Mount Vernon Ladies Association paid $9.8 million to obtain the book at auction, a record for an American historical document. The book has "President of the United States" printed on the cover and includes handwritten notes and brackets around key passages. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
George Washington's personal, annotated copy of the Constitution is displayed at right, next to former President Jimmy Carter's "The Duties of the President of the Unites States of America," at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library & Museum, Thursday, June 6, 2013, in Atlanta. Washington's copy of the Constitution known as "The Acts of Congress," will be on display Friday and through June 24 at the library in Atlanta. It's considered among the most important items owned by Washington. The Mount Vernon Ladies Association paid $9.8 million to obtain the book at auction, a record for an American historical document. The book has "President of the United States" printed on the cover and includes handwritten notes and brackets around key passages. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
slideshow
George Washington's personal, annotated copy of the Constitution is displayed, at right, at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library & Museum, Thursday, June 6, 2013, in Atlanta. The book, known as "The Acts of Congress," will be on display Friday and through June 24 at the library in Atlanta. It's considered among the most important items owned by Washington. The Mount Vernon Ladies Association paid $9.8 million to obtain the book at auction, a record for an American historical document. The book has "President of the United States" printed on the cover and includes handwritten notes and brackets around key passages. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
George Washington's personal, annotated copy of the Constitution is displayed, at right, at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library & Museum, Thursday, June 6, 2013, in Atlanta. The book, known as "The Acts of Congress," will be on display Friday and through June 24 at the library in Atlanta. It's considered among the most important items owned by Washington. The Mount Vernon Ladies Association paid $9.8 million to obtain the book at auction, a record for an American historical document. The book has "President of the United States" printed on the cover and includes handwritten notes and brackets around key passages. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
slideshow
ATLANTA — George Washington's personal, annotated copy of the Constitution will be on display beginning Friday for a limited time at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library & Museum in Atlanta, part of a traveling exhibit among the 13 presidential libraries.

The book, known as "The Acts of Congress," is considered among the most important items owned by Washington and includes handwritten notes and brackets around certain passages of the Constitution, particularly Article II, which outlines presidential duties and powers. It was purchased last summer by the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association for $9.8 million at auction, considered a record for an American historical document.

Carter Library Director Jay Hakes said the book is in remarkable condition and provides an important glimpse into the early beginnings of modern democracy.

"He had to invent government as we know it today," said Hakes. "This is really a first guide to American government."

The Carter Library has chosen to display Washington's book, which also includes the proposed Bill of Rights and a record of acts passed by the first Congress, with a copy of Carter's "The Duties of the President of the United States." The Carter book, which he received while in office in 1979, includes every mention of the president in federal law as well as all the laws passed from 1975 to 1979. The Washington book is about an inch thick with 106 pages, while the Carter book spans 1,483 pages.

"It's a visual illustration of how much the presidency has grown," Hakes said. "It's a different office today but this is where it all started."

The book was the result of an early custom by Congress' official printers to prepare bound copies of new laws. The books were presented as keepsakes to prominent officials of the early government, including Thomas Jefferson and John Jay. Washington received the book in 1789, his first year in office, and brought it home to his Mount Vernon estate in 1797.

The handwritten notes are faint and include the words "President," ''Powers" and "Required." His signature marks the title page. Hakes said the fact that Washington made notes and highlighted key sections demonstrates his commitment to understanding his role.

"He had no model to work from," Hakes said. "This shows us that he was closely studying and eager to understand."

The exhibit has already traveled to presidential libraries in California, Michigan, Kansas, Texas and Massachusetts through a partnership between the National Archives and the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association. After the tour is concluded in September, the book will be on permanent display at The Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington, which is being built at the Mount Vernon estate.

The exhibit at the Carter Library ends June 24.

___

Follow Christina Almeida Cassidy on Twitter: http://twitter.com/AP_Christina.



Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

Comments
(0)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
No Comments Yet
*We welcome your comments on the stories and issues of the day and seek to provide a forum for the community to voice opinions. All comments are subject to moderator approval before being made visible on the website but are not edited. The use of profanity, obscene and vulgar language, hate speech, and racial slurs is strictly prohibited. Advertisements, promotions, and spam will also be rejected. Please read our terms of service for full guides