For Immediate Release: May 17, 2013
Further information: Rachel Flor (617) 514-1662,

Boston, MA – President George Washington’s personal copy of the Laws of the United States, First Session 1789, also known as the Acts of Congress, will be on display at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum between May 20 and June 4, 2013. The remarkably well-preserved book includes Washington’s copy of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and other legislation passed by the first session of Congress, complete with his personal annotations.

Through a special partnership between Washington’s home, Mount Vernon, and the National Archives, this loan of the Acts of Congress is one of many stops on its nation-wide tour to each of the thirteen Presidential Libraries. Individuals and families will have a chance to become part of history by offering their personal reflections on the Constitution and the American Presidency in a comment book provided by Mount Vernon.

The 106-page Acts of Congress is emblazoned with Washington’s bookplate and features his handwritten notes penciled in the margins. Washington received the book in 1789, his first year in office as U.S. president, and brought it with him to Mount Vernon upon his retirement from public office in 1797. One of the early customs for the Congress’ official printer was to prepare bound copies of the acts passed by the legislative branch which would be presented as permanent keepsakes for the country’s leaders. Prominent recipients included Thomas Jefferson, John Jay, and George Washington, who all received these beautifully bound versions of the book, which were almost as artful to the eye as they were delicate to the touch.

This rare volume garnered world-wide attention last summer when it was offered for sale and broke world records for an American historical document at auction, where it sold for $9.8 million.

The nationwide tour of the Acts of Congress was originally conceptualized by Mount Vernon as a means of spreading awareness for The Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington, scheduled to open in September 2013. The Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington is not part of the National Archives presidential library system. For tour details and to learn more about special events and educational programming opportunities, please visit

Members of the media interested in covering the opening of this special display on Monday, May 20, 2013 should contact Rachel Flor at (617) 514-1662 or Images are also available by request for media use.