The Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington at Mount Vernon fosters new scholarly research about George Washington and the Founding Era, while safeguarding original Washington books and manuscripts. The construction of the 45,000-square-foot facility, which opened in September 2013, was made possible by a capital campaign spearheaded by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association. The campaign raised more than $100 million, all provided by private donors.
The Washington Library safeguards Washington’s books and manuscripts, approximately 1,500 additional 18th century books, as well as thousands of important 19th century newspapers, manuscripts and documents. It also serves as a scholarly retreat, creates educational outreach programs, and provides seminars and training programs with a special focus on Washington’s leadership. The Library emphasizes educational outreach, touching the lives of students, teachers and scholars across the nation.
In February 2013, in honor of Washington’s birthday, Mr. Rubenstein made a contribution toward the Washington Library’s construction and endowment. The gift directed funds toward the establishment of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Books and Manuscripts Endowment, enabling Mount Vernon to grow and sustain its collection of original volumes and documents. Mr. Rubenstein also generously provided the seed funding for a new initiative, the Mount Vernon Fellows Program, to bring college students from across the country to Mount Vernon to study Washington’s lessons of leadership. The program is designed to identify and nurture a next generation of leaders.