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Stewards of Memory

The Past, Present, and Future of Historic Preservation at George Washington's Mount Vernon
With Luke J. Pecoraro and Thomas A. Reinhart. Edited by Carol Borchert Cadou

BUY Cloth · 280 pp. · 7 × 8 · ISBN 9780813941516 · $60.00 · Nov 2018
BUY Paper · 280 pp. · 7 × 8 · ISBN 9780813941523 · $30.00 · Nov 2018
BUY Ebook · 280 pp. · ISBN 9780813941530 · $60.00 · Nov 2018

Mount Vernon, despite its importance as the estate of George Washington, is subject to the same threats of time as any property and has required considerable resources and organization to endure as a historic site and house. This book provides a window into the broad scope of preservation work undertaken at Mount Vernon over the course of more than 160 years and places this work within the context of America’s regional and national preservation efforts.

It was at Mount Vernon, beginning with efforts in 1853, that the American tradition of historic preservation truly took hold. As the nation’s oldest historic house museum, Mount Vernon offers a unique opportunity to chronicle preservation challenges and successes over time as well as to forecast those of the future. Stewards of Memory features essays by senior scholars who helped define American historic preservation in the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, including Carl R. Lounsbury, George W. McDaniel, and Carter L. Hudgins. Their contributions—complemented by those of Scott E. Casper, Lydia Mattice Brandt, and Mount Vernon’s own preservation scholars—offer insights into the changing nature of the field. The multifaceted story told here will be invaluable to students of historic preservation, historic site professionals, specialists in the preservation field, and any reader with an interest in American historic preservation and Mount Vernon.

Support provided by the David Bruce Smith Book Fund and the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington at Mount Vernon.


Stewards of Memory is a uniquely intimate view into how one of the nation’s most important historical sites has maintained itself and continues to ensure its presence, condition, and relevance to the future. Its story is foundational for anyone interested in historical preservation.

Philip Levy, University of South Florida, author of Where the Cherry Tree Grew: The Story of Ferry Farm, George Washington’s Boyhood Home

"A new benchmark in the field of historic preservation, this important volume describes the impressive, state of the art analysis and presentation of Mount Vernon by curators, archaeologists, historians, and preservation professionals."

Susan Stein, Richard Gilder Senior Curator at Monticello

For those who have not visited Mount Vernon in many years, or for those who may have never been, Stewards of Memory provides ample incentive to go and see first-hand how those currently leading the care, management, and interpretation of Washington's famous home continue to tackle the challenges and opportunities of its preservation. This volume makes a new and useful addition to the literature of historic preservation that will be of interest to both students and professionals working in that field or in public history.

ARRIS, Journal of SESAH

About the Author(s): 

Carol Borchert Cadou, who spent nineteen years on the collections and preservation staff at Mount Vernon, is Charles F. Montgomery Director and CEO of Winterthur Museum. Luke J. Pecoraro is Assistant Director for Archaeology at George Washington’s Mount Vernon. Thomas A. Reinhart is Director of Architecture at George Washington’s Mount Vernon

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