George Washington Invoices and Orders Project
Search Organization. The search tool is a simple keyword search. You can also search by year. You can either limit your search to a specific data entry field or search the whole database.
The Search Fields. This search tool allows you to search the following fields: all; item; category; subcategory; order year; ship year; ship; agent; and vendor. These fields have restricted authority tables. You cannot specify searches in the following fields (however, a keyword search with the “all” field set will pull data from these entries): item number; ship date month and day; invoice reference; invoice description; unit price; qualifier; quantity; cost; list; order month and day; order description; order reference; other reference; and note.
A brief definition of the searchable fields is listed below. See the manual (PDF file) for additional information.
Item: A brief one or two word name for the good received. This field provides a standardized list of all the goods shipped to Washington. A researcher interested in Washington’s consumption of anchovies, for example, can search that term and come up with all the invoices and associated orders and not have to anticipate the vagaries of eighteenth century spelling (i.e., anchovies versus anchovys).
Category: The broad grouping into which the item can be catalogued. This field provides data on broader themes of material culture. If a researcher wanted to do a study of all fabric and not just specific types like silks or oznabrigs, they could search the database for the category Textiles and in return receive every invoice and matching order for this type of consumer good.
Subcategory: This sub-grouping allows for more detail than the broader category groupings. Here, a researcher may want to delve more deeply into the category of Textiles and see how much Washington spent on fabric versus the category of notions (including buttons and ribbon). They could do so by searching Fabric and Notions in the subcategory field.
Order Year and Ship Year: By entering a year, the user can narrow their searches to specific time periods.
Ship: This field draws from a standardized list of ships that brought goods to Mount Vernon plantation.
Agent: The person or company Washington ordered from and to whom his tobacco was consigned. The agent then took Washington’s shopping list and procured the requested goods from individual shops or vendors in England. Searching on this field would provide users information on how Washington’s relationships with agents changed over time.
Vendor: This field provides a standardized list of names of shops or individuals from whom the item(s) was procured. Additional information, such as location of shop and type of business, is provided in the notes of the Papers of George Washington, and should be consulted there.