May 30, 2023

UMW Libraries Aid in Digitizing Mary Washington’s Will

UMW Libraries recently partnered with the Fredericksburg Circuit Court Archives and the Washington Heritage Museums to digitize Mary Ball Washington’s 1789 will. This historic document is part of the collections of the Fredericksburg Circuit Court Archives and has been carefully preserved for future researchers but until now had not been digitized.

Anne Darron, Executive Director of the Washington Heritage Museums and UMW alum, inquired with Special Collections and University Archives staff about obtaining a high-quality scan of the will for the local Mary Washington House. The Library’s overhead Cobra V-Cradle scanner in the Digital Archiving Lab was the right equipment for the job, as it allows for high-resolution scanning of fragile bound books and documents up to 18 x 24 inches. Digital Resources Librarian Suzanne Chase scanned the will, providing staff at the Washington Heritage Museums and the Fredericksburg Circuit Court Archives with high-resolution images that they can use in exhibits and printed materials without having to repeatedly handle the original document.

The Digital Archiving Lab enables UMW Libraries to work with faculty and students to create scholarly digital projects and to assist local cultural heritage institutions in digitizing their historic treasures. Scanning Mary Washington’s last will and testament was a project of special significance to us at UMW.