The Life of George Washington by John Marshall, 6 Volumes with Atlas, First English Edition, 1804-1807.

Marshall, John. The Life of George Washington. London: Richard Phillips, 1804-07. 6 vol. set, including Atlas. First English edition. Octavo. Bound in later 3/4 red pigskin and red marbled boards, raised bands and gilt titles to spine. Presented with a new archival red cloth slipcase. 

Presented is the first English edition of The Life of George Washington by John Marshall , published in 5 volumes with an accompanying Atlas, from 1804 to 1807. The English edition was published the same years as the American edition. This a  beautiful and most desirable set, bound in later three quarter red leather and marbled boards, with matching scarce atlas volume.

Shortly after Marshall became Chief Justice, he was approached by Washington’s nephew, Bushrod, to write the first president’s official biography. Probably no man was better suited to the task. As a personal friend of Washington, Marshall had been the one to announce the President’s death in 1799, offer the eulogy, and chair the committee that arranged the funeral rites. He also led the commission to plan a monument in the capital city.  Marshall’s time spent in the Continental Army also allowed him the opportunity to serve directly alongside Washington. 

Marshall’s close friendship with Washington ensured that the biography would be detailed and respectful of all that the first president had accomplished. When Marshall agreed to write a full biography, Washington’s family provided him with countless records and papers to help document the late president’s life. In addition to these sources, Marshall brought a sense of intimacy to the work, as he incorporated a personal perspective in his writing. 

When Marshall’s Life of Washington appeared, it was considered so authoritative that Washington scholar, Jared Sparks, suggested any new biographical undertaking would be “presumptuous” (Sparks, Washington I:12). "If George Washington founded the country, John Marshall defined it" (Jean Edward Smith).

The maps in this scarce atlas relate to military operations in the Revolutionary War, and include the Boston area, New York Island, northern New Jersey, New Hampshire, Yorktown, and more. 


Very good condition. 6 volume set. Bound in later 3/4 red pigskin and red marbled boards, raised bands and gilt titles to spine. Top edges gilt, other edges deckled. Interior pages are healthy. Engraved portrait, 2 folded plates, 12 folded maps on canvas but one. Bindings lightly rubbed and worn, occasional light foxing including maps. Presented with a new archival lined red cloth slipcase, with ribbon and inlaid portrait of Washington on the front.

Related Items

Subscribe and save!

Sign up for our emails to receive exclusive flash sales weekly! Get 50% off list price of incredible pieces, only offered to our subscribers.