James Monroe's Personal Library
by Heidi Stello, Editorial Assistant, Papers of James Monroe,
and James Monroe Museum Guide
Visitors to the Museum have long asked about the books that they see lining the walls throughout the exhibit spaces. How many books did Monroe own? What did he like to read? Are any of the titles recognizable to a modern audience? The staff at the Papers of James Monroe is seeking to answer those questions, and many more, in an upcoming exhibit to be installed in the fall at Simpson Library on the Fredericksburg UMW campus.
 
By his own count, Monroe owned about 3,000 books, which was a significant collection for the time period. Over half of his library consisted of works on history, politics, legal philosophy, and science. He particularly valued the study of history, both ancient and modern, for the lessons that could be drawn from the successes and failures of past civilizations. He also owned a substantial collection of drama, poetry, religion, and fiction, which included the works of such authors as William Shakespeare, John Milton, and Miguel de Cervantes. 
Monroe made several catalogues of his books throughout his lifetime. One of these lists, begun around 1810, is held in the archives of the Museum. Monroe continued to add to it through the end of his presidency. It is a valuable resource, and records the titles of books that formed a core of resources for his diverse needs as secretary of state, secretary of war, and president.
Monroe’s personal copies of his books are easily identifiable by his distinctive bookplate. A number of these books are in the Museum’s holdings, and we continue to add to our collection as opportunities arise. We have also sought to replicate the contents of his library, purchasing (where possible) the same edition he was known to have owned. These books are on exhibit as part of the Orientation Gallery, and can be found in the bookcases to either side of Rembrandt Peale’s captivating portrait of Monroe. 
 
We look forward to sharing additional details about Monroe’s library, and the insight it provides into his life and character, through the upcoming exhibit and related programming.
White House Historical Association's
Presidential Sites Summit
Executive Director of University Museums Scott Harris, James Monroe Museum Assistant Director and Curator Jarod Kearney, Public Programs Coordinator Lynda Allen, and former Bowley Scholar and University of Mary Washington student Holly Irwin participated in the White House Historical Association's Presidential Sites Summit during the last week in August. The summit was attended by historians, museum staff, history enthusiasts, and presidential descendants.

Attendees gathered for panels on topics ranging from Presidential History and Memory:Negotiating Narratives Across Time and Space, and Digitization and Technology, to Inclusive Presidential History and Presidents and the Press Throughout History.

According the the WHHA, "Every two years, leaders of our shared presidential history convene for a stimulating gathering to share innovative ideas and discuss insight into the management and outreach of presidential libraries, historic homes, and museums." The theme for this year’s summit was “Back to the White House,” which took as it's focus the Executive Mansion and how it serves as the thread that connects all presidential sites.

In keeping with the theme, attendees were invited to a reception at the White House!
Curator's Corner
This month’s curator’s corner features a circa 1800 inkwell used by James Monroe while he was Governor of Virginia. Made with a warthog-tusk ivory handle, the inkwell features an attached scrolling frame of silver, with two scrolling legs atop an acorn-shaped silver ink container. The acorn swivels to accommodate a quill without spilling its contents. Because there are no marks on the inkstand, the workmanship has not been attributed to a particular silversmith, though without maker's marks, it is clear that the inkstand is not English (all British silver products were assayed before leaving the country).
Warthog ivory comes from the animal's upper and lower canine teeth. It is distinguished from bone in several ways. In addition to having a generally lighter color, bone is porous and upon close examination you can often see tiny holes, particularly where the piece has been cut or ground at an angle. Bone also lacks ivory’s distinct wavy line patterns embedded in the material, and has a slightly chalkier texture.

You can see our tusk-handle inkwell currently on display in our Orientation gallery.
Upcoming Programs
Friday, September 7, 6:00-8:00 PM
First Friday - History Trivia Night
Location: James Monroe Museum

Join us for The James Monroe Museum’s History Trivia Night featuring Celebrity Quizmaster Dr. Troy Paino, tenth President of the University of Mary Washington. Dr. Paino earned doctorate and master’s degrees in American studies from Michigan State University. He holds a law degree from Indiana University and a bachelor’s degree in history and philosophy from Evangel College.
His teaching and scholarly interests include American higher education, 20th-century cultural and social history and American legal history. He has written extensively on the history of American sports and published his book, The Social History of the United States: 1960s, in 2008.

History Trivia Night features three rounds of questions, with each round focused on different historical topics (not limited to presidential trivia). Bring your own team, join one at the program, or be your own one-person team!

Admission, participation, and snacks are free. There will be a cash bar and a 50/50 raffle.
Saturday, September 15, 11:00 AM-5:00 PM
29th Fredericksburg Welsh Festival
Location: 900 block of Charles St.

This popular street festival honors all things Welsh, including the Welsh ancestry of James Monroe (through his mother, Elizabeth Jones). Craft and food vendors; traditional Welsh music; Welsh country dancing; storytelling; and presentations on Welsh culture, language, and history are all part of this downtown tradition. James Monroe will be returning to the festival again this year! The festival is co-sponsored by the Welsh Society of Fredericksburg and the James Monroe Museum. Admission is a suggested donation of $5/adult or $1/child.
Saturday, September 15, 11:00 AM-3:00 PM
UMW Family Weekend
Location: UMW Campus
If you’re planning to attend UMW’s Family Weekend celebrations on Saturday, September 15, look for us! JMM will have a pop-up Museum on Ball Circle between 11:00 AM and 3:00 PM. We will also be your source for Family Weekend t-shirts! The full schedule for Family Weekend activities is here .
Friday, October 5, 6:00-8:00 PM
First Friday - Tavern Night
Location: James Monroe Museum

For the second year, the Ship’s Company Chanteymen will lead us in a boisterous night of merriment and songs of yore! All will be invited to join in the chorus or even lead a chantey or two! It is a great treat to see this jolly band of merrymakers who have been seen and heard up and down the east coast of the United States.

Admission and participation are free. There will be a variety of Virginia beers available for purchase at the cash bar!
Thursday, October 11, 6:00-8:00 PM
Discovering James Monroe: Archaeology at Highland
Location: James Monroe Museum

Virginia Archaeology Month provides the context for this program on discoveries under the soil at James Monroe’s Albemarle County farm, by Highland executive director Sara Bon-Harper.

If you were unable to attend one of our lectures or special presentations, like our Monroe Conversations: First Ladies program featuring a conversation between Elizabeth Monroe and Dolley Madison, you can still enjoy them on our YouTube channel!




2018-2019 Bowley Scholars
Please join us in welcoming this year's Bowley Scholars, Gracie Hardy and Megan Milonovich ! Gracie and Megan are both historic preservation majors at the University of Mary Washington, and will have the opportunity to gain skills as future museum professionals through their internships at JMM.
Gracie Hardy is a Historic Preservation and Music double major, with a minor in Museum Studies. She has spent the three previous summers interning at the Baker Heritage Museum and the Leo Adler House Museum in her hometown, Baker City, Oregon. On campus, Gracie serves as the president of the Historic Preservation Club and as a student representative for the Historic Preservation Department. Gracie also serves on President Paino's Campus Environment Ad Hoc Committee, and last year, served on the jury for the UMW Center for Historic Preservation's 2018 Book Prize.
Megan Milonovich is a senior majoring in historic preservation at the University of Mary Washington. She is interested in architectural history and enjoys lecturing her roommate as they walk around Fredericksburg. This is her first time working at a museum and she is looking forward to getting more involved in the local historic preservation community.
What's In Store?
backpack-sm.jpg
Are your kids ready for back to school?
Clothes bought?
Teacher visit complete?
Backpacks packed?
 
How about the backpack accessories? Don’t send the kids back to school with boring backpacks! Dress them up with the Museum Store’s unique selection of keychains and zipper pulls. Stuffed Eagles, telescopes, and compasses will adorn the best-dressed and coolest backpacks this year!
Eagle Zipper Pull $4.99 each

Fun Fact: The bald eagle was chosen in 1782 as the emblem of the United States of America because of its long life, great strength, and majestic looks.
Brass Compass Keychain $4.99 each
Fully functional miniature compass.

Fun Fact: During the Revolutionary War, troops used a larger compass that allowed them to find their way through unfamiliar territory and remain unseen. Use this miniature version to help stay oriented.
Brass Spyglass Keychain $4.99 each
Fully functional. Extends to 3”.
Fun Fact: During the Revolutionary War, coded messages could be discerned and enemy troop movements could be silently watched using a spyglass. James Monroe is believed to have used one similar to this, but much larger, to spy on the British during the War of 1812!

We hope to see you soon in the Museum Store! Remember there is never an admission charge to shop in the Store.
Friends of the
James Monroe Museum

Members of the Friends of the James Monroe Museum help make it possible for us to conserve the artifacts in our collection, create new exhibits for their display, and plan and implement public programming that provides opportunities to share the life and legacy of James Monroe with our community.

View the information about the benefits of membership, and learn how to become a Friend of the James Monroe Museum today!

Museum Hours

Bring along a lunch when you're visiting the James Monroe Museum and enjoy it in a tranquil setting! The James Monroe Museum is open Monday-Saturday 10:00 AM-5:00 PM, and Sundays 1:00-5:00 PM. We look forward to seeing you soon!



The James Monroe Museum
908 Charles St.
Fredericksburg, VA 22401
540-654-1043