Papers of: Washington, George (1732-1799)

Scope and Content

WMS/Amer.91 is one of a series of annual orders for general estate supplies sent by Washington to London. MS.7799 comprises a photograph of a letter from Washington shortly before his death, discussing his false teeth, plus supporting documentation.

Administrative / Biographical History

George Washington was born in 1732 in Northern Virginia to a family of gentleman farmers. From 1754 to 1759 he fought in the military campaigns west of the Appalachians in the Seven Years War, resigning his commission on his marriage to Martha Custis (by which his estates, already extensive, were further increased). In 1758 he had become a member of the House of Burgesses for Virginia and served in this capacity for many years. In 1775, at the time of the American colonies' revolt against the English government, he was chosen by the Continental Convention to lead the revolutionary army. Following independence he retired to his estates, returning to public life to serve from 1787 to 1789 as President of the National Convention on the future form of government of the United States. As a result of this body's deliberations the office of President of the United States of America was created. Washington was elected the first holder of the office and held it for two terms, from 1789 to 1797, after which he retired once again. He died in 1799.


WMS/Amer.91 is a single item, an order. In MS.7799 a photograph of a letter from Washington comes first, followed by twentieth century supporting documentation in chronological order.

Access Information

The papers are available subject to the usual conditions of access to Archives and Manuscripts material, after the completion of a Reader's Undertaking.

Acquisition Information

MS.7799 was received by transfer from the Wellcome Historical Medical Museum, c .1939 (accession number 91800). WMS/Amer.91 was purchased in 1962.

Other Finding Aids

Described in Robin Price, An Annotated Catalogue of Medical Americana in the Library of the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine (London: Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine, 1983) and subsequent typescript supplementary finding aids by Richard Aspin, Christopher Hilton, Keith Moore and Richard Palmer. Detailed catalogue available at

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

holograph document, photograph and typescript, held in files of loose papers.

Archivist's Note

description compiled by Christopher Hilton based upon those in the Library's published finding aid by Robin Price and subsequent typescript supplementary finding aids by Richard Aspin, Christopher Hilton, Keith Moore and Richard Palmer.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies/photographs/microfilm are supplied for private research only at the Archivist's discretion. Please note that material may be unsuitable for copying on conservation grounds, and that photographs cannot be photocopied in any circumstances. Readers are restricted to 100 photocopies in twelve months. Researchers who wish to publish material must seek copyright permission from the copyright owner.

Custodial History

WMS/Amer.91 formed part of the Guerra collection. The photograph and supporting documentation comprising MS.7799 were obtained or generated by Burroughs Wellcome & Co. in 1922 and passed to the Wellcome Historical Medical Museum.

Location of Originals

The letter by Washington photographed as MS.7799/1 was, at the time of copying, held at the old South Meeting House, Boston.

Geographical Names