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A Letter from George Washington, November 30, 1785

The letter on display in this gallery reveals George Washington’s active engagement in shaping the nation during the critical period following the American Revolution.

Washington wrote the letter to Dr. David Stuart from Mount Vernon on November 30, 1785. Stuart was both a trusted associate and a member of Washington’s extended family. He joined Washington’s family in 1783 when he married Eleanor Calvert Custis, the widow of Martha Washington’s son John Parke Custis, and became stepfather to the Washingtons’ four grandchildren. At the time of the letter Stuart was a member of the Virginia legislature.

The letter remained in the Stuart family until last year, when the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History acquired it through a donation by Dr. Peter Buck. This is the first time the document has been on public display.

West front of Mount Vernon, 1787–92 oil painting by Edward Savage

Edward Savage's painting of West Front of Mount Vernon. 1787-92. Courtesy of Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association

Letter from George Washington to David Stuart, November 30, 1785

Letter from George Washington to David Stuart, November 30, 1785 The George Washington letter was acquired through a generous donation from Dr. Peter Buck.

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