In Southern California? Starting today, you can see George Washington’s personal copy of the Constitution and other important documents from the founding of the United States.
George Washington’s historic book, the Acts of Congress, is on a nationwide tour to the 13 Presidential Libraries and Museums. It is on loan from the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association.
The exhibit opens today at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley. In addition to the Acts of Congress, the Reagan Library will have other treasures from the vaults on display.
The “Stone” copy of the Declaration of Independence was commissioned in 1823 by Secretary of State John Quincy Adams and created by engraver William Stone.
Pictured above left: Cover of Washington’s Acts of Congress, courtesy of Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association. Right, close up of the upper left hand corner from the “Stone” Declaration of Independence from the holdings of the Reagan Library.
On September 18, 1793, George Washington laid the cornerstone of the Capitol building, the future home of the legislative branch of government.
Six years earlier, on September 17, 1787, Washington was among the 39 men who signed the United States Constitution; effectively putting the framework of the new government into place. Despite this, the physical location of the government would not be completed for many years.
The north wing was finished in 1800; the south wing in 1811. Then the Capitol was burned in the War of 1812, but a rainstorm saved it from complete destruction (Congress was forced to meet in temporary quarters until 1819). During the Civil War, it was used as Union barracks.
Now, 219 years later, the building stands completed, with 540 rooms. In 1801, Thomas Jefferson became the first President to be inaugurated at the Capitol, a tradition that continues to this day.
Photograph of the Capitol Building under construction in Washington, DC.
Thomas Jefferson was born on this day in 1743.
The third President of the United States and author of the Declaration of Independence lived to the age of 83. He died on the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration, July 4, 1826.
Here is the first page of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s address at the dedication of the Thomas Jefferson memorial. 4/13/1943
Happy Friday and cheers to Thomas Jefferson!
And I also remember something that Thomas Jefferson once said. he said, ‘We should never judge a president by his age, only by his works.’ And ever since he told me that, I stopped worrying.
Born February 6, 1911
Christmas has been celebrated in the White House since 1803, when President Thomas Jefferson lived there. The first record of a Christmas tree in the White House is for the year 1889, when President Benjamin Harrison decorated a live tree himself with tinsel and popcorn. Since then a trimmed Christmas tree has become a tradition of the White House.
Here’s the East Room of the White House all dressed up for Christmas. December 13, 1985.
-from the Reagan Library
"We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, that to secure these rights governments are instituted among men."
-Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence 1776
Today in history, President Franklin D. Roosevelt lays the cornerstone for the Thomas Jefferson Memorial in Washington D.C. November 15, 1939.
This memorial to our 3rd president was designed by architect John Russell Pope (who also designed the National Archives building in Washington D.C. about a decade earlier).
Pope looked to the architectural tastes of Jefferson to create the Memorial. Jefferson himself had introduced the Classical circular colonnade style to the United States, and Pope used the motif to to convey the spirit of this founding father.
The quote above is among multiple passages that appear on the panels in the Memorial.
Here’s a photo of the Jefferson Memorial illuminated at night during President Truman’s inaugural celebration, January 20, 1949.