- The tradition of creating a presidential library did not begin until 1939 when Franklin Roosevelt donated his papers to the Federal Government. So it is not surprising that George Washington is getting his library only now. Located at the Mount Vernon Estate, the $45 million Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington is, however, long overdue. Washington’s stature, once collectively acknowledged by Americans, is now somewhat diminished. The library, research center, scholars in residence, and rotating exhibits will, with time, be a corrective. And if he is not again
first in the hearts of his countrymen,then certainly he should be second. See Edward Rothstein’s review on Washington as a reader of books (The New York Times, 27-Sep-2013).
The Washington Presidential Library
But with the British army evacuated [from Philadelphia in 1778] and the Patriots now in charge, Philadelphia Loyalists were doubly vulnerable to censure and punishment for siding with the Crown and for having consorted with the enemy. The Philadelphia Assembly Appointed [Charles Willson] Peale and four others to be Commissioners of Forfeited Estates, and for that the commissioners would receive a 5 percent commission. Peale’s group had extraordinary power to interrogate suspected traitors, break into houses, remove property, and sell off estates. Writs were issued to seize 118 estates ...