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George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate, Museum & Gardens Launches New George Washington Encyclopedia

George Washington’s Mount Vernon launches a new online initiative designed to be the authoritative online resource for all things George Washington. The Digital Encyclopedia of George Washington is geared towards a diverse audience including teachers, students, independent researchers, and anyone with a burning question about George Washington’s life! The encyclopedia allows users to explore more than 200 digital source materials and objects from George Washington’s estate. This project was developed over the course of one year as an initiative of the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington, set to open fall 2013. The Digital Encyclopedia of George Washington can be accessed through Mount Vernon’s website, http://www.mountvernon.org/encyclopedia

"The Digital Encyclopedia of George Washington is an excellent opportunity to provide the public with engaging content on the life and legacy of Washington,” the encyclopedia’s editor, Adam D. Shprintzen, said in a release. “I have been truly fortunate to work with an impressive mix of both established and burgeoning scholars, and I look forward to growing the encyclopedia and its resources.”

The encyclopedia currently includes 300 entries, and Mount Vernon plans to double the number by the summer of 2013. Entries are written by a diverse mix of established and burgeoning scholars, as well as Mount Vernon staff and experts. Entries focus on Washington’s life and experiences, while also covering the Mount Vernon estate, its history, and preservation. Objects, lithographs, letters, portraits, and other primary source material account for the digital primary sources are integrated throughout the encyclopedia.

George Washington understood the value of a comprehensive encyclopedia. Washington was so enamored with the possibilities provided by an encyclopedia that he ordered two sets of Philadelphia printer Thomas Dobson's Encyclopedia, or A Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, and Miscellaneous Literature. Mount Vernon’s collection contains duplicate copies of this encyclopedia for his own personal library. The digital encyclopedia sets the stage for further ventures merging history and technology, a key focus of the library. The library is destined to be the first and only center for amassing and disseminating knowledge about America’s most famous founding father.