Overview of the Project
"George Washington, Day-By-Day, 22 February 1732-14 December 1799" aims at being a dynamic online reference tool that will allow scholars, students, and the general public to find, quickly and easily, information on the daily movements, activities, and thoughts of this central figure in United States and world history.  Once fully compiled—primarily from the existing comprehensive and authoritative Papers of George Washington produced at the University of Virginia since 1968—the daily entries in "George Washington, Day-By-Day" will be a resource that never becomes dated.  The essential work of writing entries for each day and developing the online environment to access and manipulate the data has been done by University of Virginia undergraduates, fulfilling a university goal of meaningfully engaging such students in the research process in a manner that advances or promotes knowledge.  The students gained valuable experience in conducting research, prioritizing information, writing concisely, working collaboratively, solving technological challenges, and delivering content digitally. "George Washington, Day-By-Day" is the first large-scale digital humanities project to address the life of a major Founding Era figure. 

Introductory Video


Day-By-Day Project Introduction from The Papers of George Washington on Vimeo.

See the whole video on our multimedia page.

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Daily entries on GW's whereabouts, movements, activities, and thoughts as well as how he impacted the actions of other people have been drawn principally from The Papers of George Washington edited at the University of Virginia since 1968.  Volumes of diaries, correspondence, and other papers published since 1977 and now available online through Rotunda and Founders Online have been the main source.  (All sources consulted may be found under the Bibliography heading.) The goal is to report historically supported facts that allow modern readers to place GW in time and space.  Working in teams, University of Virginia undergraduates drafted the initial summaries, which then underwent fact checking and copy editing by another undergraduate before a final review by the faculty advisor or project assistant. All daily entries begin with the date at the top presented day month year, day of week (these days found via the universal calendar site www.timeanddate.com). The target length for daily entries is less than 150 words.  More active days can run to 250 words.  Only exceptional days are allowed up to 500 words.  No entry exceeds that figure.  All quotes precisely reproduce edited material or the rendering in the primary source.  No quotes come from secondary sources.  A general rule has been to try as hard as possible to keep things simple.

A change in calendar during George Washington's lifetime complicates a "day-by-day" presentation.  England did not abandon the Julian calendar for the Gregorian calendar until 1752.  The change moved GW's birthdate from February 11 to February 22. To avoid confusion, this site presents all dates according to the modern Gregorian calendar.

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Website Development

The project website has been developed by a Technology Team of students with guidance from digital editors associated with The Washington Papers and University of Virginia IT consultants.  After evaluating several options, team members decided to manage daily entry files through a Google Share Drive and build the website on a DRUPAL platform.  The overall design, search function, color schemes, background, fonts, and special features received considerable attention and will undergo continued revision based on experience.  Efforts have been made to obtain permissions for all images not in the public domain.  The team has decided to tag each daily entry with selections from thirty-nine subject headings to supplement keyword searching.  (These tags may be found under the Subject heading.)  The actual uploading of files has involved cutting and pasting to populate fields.  An attempt to link detailed GIS coordinates for places has been abandoned due to complexity.  The Technology Team enjoyed the greatest amount of freedom for brainstorming and creativity, and they have taken advantage of that circumstance.

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  • "The Papers of George Washington, Digital Edition" 

Edited Diaries, Incoming and Outgoing Correspondence, Documents and Memoranda, Other Contemporary Primary Sources

Subscription URL: rotunda.upress.virginia.edu/founders/GEWN

Public URL: founders.archives.gov

  • American Presidential Families, Charles Mosley, primary compiler (New York, 1993) 

Authoritative genealogical information on George Washington's extended family

  • George Washington's Financial Papers, 1750-1796 

Manuscript receipts, ledgers, and account books found in the Papers of George Washington, Library of Congress, Series 5 

Public URL: memory.loc.gov/ammem/gwhtml/gwhome.html

  • Virginia Gazette (Williamsburg), 1736-40, 1745-46, 1751-57, 1759, 1761-63 

Contemporary newspaper for consequential events that may have come to GW's attention during his youth and young manhood

  • George H. S. King, "Washington's Boyhood Home," William and Mary Quarterly, 2d ser., 17, 2 (April 1937): 265-81
  • Moncure Daniel Conway, Barons of the Potomack and the Rappahannock (New York, 1892) 

Access: hathitrust.org (Search keywords Conway Barons Potomack)

  • Peter R. Henriques, "Major Lawrence Washington Versus the Reverend Charles Green: A Case Study of the Squire and the Parson," Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 100, 2 (April 1992): 233-64
Special thanks to The Jefferson Trust