This essay is an excerpt from the "Introduction" to volume 1 of
Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George
Washington, 6 vols. (Charlottesville: University Press of
Virginia, 1976-79). In it the editors discuss the nature of the
diaries and their history. They offer an overview of the six-volume
documentary edition of the diaries that is available as part of this
online collection of the George Washington Papers.
Abbreviations for repositories and references to source
documents have been expanded. The "Introduction" as published in full
may be found in the online presentation of Volume 1.