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Series Browse List

The George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress is organized into nine series.

Series 1: Exercise Books, Diaries, and Surveys 1741-99

The Diaries of George Washington.
6 vols. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1976-79
Copyright and Other Restrictions

Series 2: Letterbooks 1754-99

Series 3: Letterbooks Varick Transcripts: Continental Army Papers 1775-83

Series 4: General Correspondence 1697-1799

Series 5: Financial Papers 1750-96

Series 6: Military Papers 1755-98

Series 7: Applications for Office 1789-96

Series 8: Miscellaneous Papers ca. 1775-99

Series 9: Addenda to the George Washington Papers, 1763-97


Series are the groupings into which archivists organize manuscript collections. Series can be based on a number of organizational principles. One principle is that of their original creation, when that can still be accurately determined. Series 3 of the Washington Papers, for example, consists almost entirely of letterbooks created by Richard Varick in 1781 under the instructions of Washington and in the employ of Congress. At the time, Washington himself instructed Varick on the series into which he was to organize the copying of Revolutionary War correspondence into the letterbooks. Though this original organization was lost before the Library of Congress acquired the papers, the task and its result, forty-four volumes of letterbooks, survive in the form of Series 3.

There is no one series in the Washington Papers that encompasses all of Washington's correspondence from beginning to end. Rather, correspondence is organized into series by two broad document types: letterbooks and individual letters. Bound letterbooks, in which Washington made, or had secretaries make, copies of letters he sent, can be found in Series 2 and Series 3. Loose, individual letters he received are organized chronologically in Series 4, General Correspondence. These, then, are two different types of correspondence series.

Series can also be organized by subject matter. Series 5 consists of records explicitly relating to Washington's financial affairs, while Series 6 contains military records, ranging from the colonial campaigns in which he participated to his appointment in 1798, late in life, to command American forces in the event of a war with France. Series 7 is made up exclusively of letters of application for employment and appointment during Washington's presidency, arranged alphabetically. These kinds of series contain documents, such as financial account books in Series 5, and military orderly books in Series 6, that confine them to their subject matter. In contrast, correspondence can range over a variety of subjects.

No collection of papers is complete without a series called "Miscellaneous." In the Washington Papers this is Series 8, which contains recipients' copies of Washington letters, certificates, land surveys, and notes, extracts, and forms.

Series 9 is a selection from the Addenda to the George Washington Papers. These letters, survey documents, and other materials were acquired after the bulk of the collection had been processed and microfilmed.

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