From the U. of Virginia:
After President George Washington’s death, Martha Washington – America’s original first lady and one of the most important women in the history of the United States – burned most of her correspondence with her husband.
Nevertheless, thousands of letters to and from her still remain, a substantial body of her general correspondence – almost half of which has never been published.
But that’s about to change.
Beginning this summer, the University of Virginia will begin work on publishing Martha’s letters in fully edited and annotated volumes.
The major editorial project will launch July 1, with a completion date in 2020, as part of an ongoing partnership between the Washington Papers, a Founding Fathers project located on the fifth floor of U.Va.’s Alderman Library, and the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington at Mount Vernon.
In conjunction with this major extension of its editorial project, the Papers of George Washington project has now been renamed “The Washington Papers.”
The Martha Washington Project will publish Martha’s correspondence in two volumes. Three more volumes will capture the correspondence of the greater Washington family, and an additional volume will include the little-known Barbados diary of George Washington.
All six volumes will be available in both print and digital formats. The University of Virginia Press will publish the fully indexed letterpress volumes, which will appear alongside “The Papers of George Washington” digital edition in the press’ Rotunda digital imprint.
“This exciting project presents a ground-breaking approach to historical research and documentary editing,” said Edward G. Lengel, professor and director of the Washington Papers. “By editing and annotating these documents – most of them never before published – we aim to provide the public with a broad, balanced and informative view of some of the most important people and events in our nation’s history.”
Work on the project will be conducted at U.Va. with three full-time editors and a support staff under Lengel’s direction. The staff will conduct an extended international document search to identify and obtain copies of all relevant correspondence. The editors will then transcribe the documents according to modern standards, and will research and write thorough annotation, a highly regarded editorial process that has ensured a strong reputation for the Washington Papers over the years.
Read the Complete Announcement
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