Acts of Congress Exhibit Opens

Apr 30, 2013

George Washington’s original copy of the Acts of Congress, including the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, will be displayed at the LBJ Presidential Library for 12 Days.

What:                 Media availability and exhibit opens to the public

When:   
News media:
    10 a.m., May 6, 2013 - exhibit is available to the news media
                             Photography is available to media only with a Library escort.
                             Exhibit photos are available upon request.

Public:                Exhibit is available to the public May 6 – 17, 2013
                             Library Hours:  9 a.m.- 5 p.m. daily
                             Photography and filming by public ARE NOT ALLOWED.

Where:               2313 Red River St.
                             Free Parking in lot #38

Admission:        Suggested donations are detailed at www.lbjlibrary.org

Media Contact:  Anne Wheeler - awheeler@lbjfoundation.org
                              (512) 721-0216

Background

   “…the constitution is the guide, which I will never abandon.”
                                         George Washington to The Boston Selectmen, July 28, 1795

President George Washington’s personal copy of the Acts of Congress will be on display in the Great Hall of the LBJ Presidential Library from May 6 through May 17, 2013. The remarkably well-preserved book includes Washington’s copy of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and other laws passed by the first session of Congress.  

The 106-page rare volume features Washington’s handwritten notes in the margins. Washington rarely inserted notes in his books but in this book he drew neat brackets to highlight passages of particular interest. In the margins of four pages, Washington wrote the words “President,” “Powers,” and “Required,” underscoring the crucial actions that he, as the nation’s first chief executive, was expected to carry out.

One of the early customs was for the Congress’ official printer to prepare bound copies of the acts passed and then presented them as a permanent keepsake to the country’s leaders. The beautifully bound books were given not only to Washington but also to Thomas Jefferson and John Jay.

Washington received the book in 1789, his first year in office as President. He pasted his engraved bookplate to the inside front cover which features the Washington family coat of arms and the motto “exitus acta probat,” which means “the result is the test of the actions.”

Visitors to the LBJ Library will:
• view 2 pages from the opened book Acts of Congress;
• learn about the book from a 4-1/2 minute video;
• have the opportunity to offer personal comments about the book and American Presidency.

The book on display at the LBJ Presidential Library received worldwide attention last year when it was offered for sale and broke world records for an American historical document up for auction. 

The LBJ Library is the fifth stop for this traveling exhibit, which will be displayed at each of the thirteen Presidential Libraries through a special partnership between Washington’s home, Mount Vernon, and the National Archives.
For details on the tour, please visit  http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/acts-of-congress/schedule.html.

At each location, visitors will have a chance to become part of history by offering their personal reflections on the Constitution and the American Presidency. This can be done in person by signing a large rustic appearing journal using a quill pen or online through an array of social media sites and a mobile blog.

For more information, please visit www.archives.gov/exhibits/acts-of-congress.

After the tour, the Acts of Congress will be permanently housed at the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington, currently under construction by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association on Washington’s estate.