NEW YORK, N.Y.- The George Washington University
announced today that Albert H. Small, a 2009 recipient of the Presidential Humanities Medal, will donate his unparalleled collection on the history of Washington , D.C. , to the university.
Smalls Washingtoniana Collection will be permanently displayed in the 156-year-old Woodhull House and in a to-be-constructed adjacent museum on the George Washington University campus. The museum will include galleries and space for academic and scholarly activity. The $5 million gift will support the renovation of the Woodhull House and construction of the new museum.
Albert Small, a native Washingtonian, has methodically assembled the single most significant and extensive collection in private hands relating to the history and development of Washington and the District of Columbia, said Chris Coover, senior specialist, Books and Manuscripts, at Christies in New York. Smalls remarkable collectionsome 50 years in the making and impossible to duplicate todayis a treasure trove of rare maps, drawings, letters and documents, lithographs, books and ephemera, and is a testament to his passionate enthusiasm as a collector.
This collection provides unparalleled opportunities not only for our current students and scholars, but also for future generations to study the history of our nation through the study of this nations capital, said George Washington University President Steven Knapp.
The Woodhull House, located at 20th and G streets, NW, will be renamed in honor of Albert H. Small as the Historic Woodhull House, Home of the Albert H. Small Washingtoniana Collection. A prominent space in the new museum will be named the Albert H. Small Center for National Capital Area Studies.
The center will integrate the collection into a wide range of academic studies, including American and Washington , D.C. , history; George Washington and his impact on our country; geography; museum studies and programs; and public lectures. The collection also will be digitized for worldwide access via the Internet.
What most influenced my thinking was the idea of making my collection the centerpiece of a broad range of studies and symposia at the university, which will allow future generations to understand and appreciate an important part of America s history, said Mr. Small.
Mr. Smalls donation to George Washington University builds on a long and distinguished personal history of preserving and sharing America s heritage. In 2005, he donated the earliest known image of the White Housea watercolor done in 1801 by J. Benfordto the White House, where it now hangs. The University of Virginia was the recipient in 2004 of Mr. Smalls remarkable collection on the Declaration of Independence, where it is housed in the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library.
Albert H. Small has been recognized for his support of the humanities with the Presidential Humanities Medal, and this is one more example of his dedication to the humanities, said Robert Perry, chairman and president of the National Trust for the Humanities, and a trustee of the George Washington University . The university is deeply honored to be the recipient and guardian of such an historic collection.
In the heart of the nations capital with additional programs in Virginia , the George Washington University was created by an Act of Congress in 1821. Today, GW is the largest institution of higher education in the District of Columbia . The university offers comprehensive programs of undergraduate and graduate liberal arts study, as well as degree programs in medicine, public health, law, engineering, education, business and international affairs. Each year, GW enrolls a diverse population of undergraduate, graduate and professional students from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and more than 130 countries.