WASHINGTON, George. Partly printed document accomplished as President, AN INVITATION TO DINE IN THE EXECUTIVE MANSION, with date, time and name of the invitee neatly filled in by the President, n.p. [Philadelphia], 6 May 1792. 1 page, a small oblong (2 7/8 x 4½ in.), on heavy stock, engraved text in an elegant italic hand, the blank portions neatly filled in Washington's distinctive, neat cursive hand, minor spotting.
AN INVITATION TO DINE WITH PRESIDENT WASHINGTON
A partly autograph invitation from the first President, on a small card carefully engraved for the purpose: "The President of the United States, requests the Pleasure of Mr Gilbert's Company to Dine, on Wednesday next, at 4 o'Clock . May 6th 1792." Below and to the right is the engraved note: "An answer is requested."
Mr. Gilbert, the invitee, has not been identified. At this date, Washington was looking forward to the recess of Congress on May 8, and had begun preparations to return to Mount Vernon for the summer. Dinner on the appointed day would have taken place in the dining room at the back of the President's house, formerly Robert Morris's mansion on Market Street, which served as the Executive Mansion from 1790 to 1800 (see notes to previous lot). The principal cook who would have prepared the repast for the President, Gilbert and other guests would have been the slave Hercules, whom Washington had brought to Philadelphia from Mount Vernon. He escaped to freedom in March 1797.
Examples of this unusual artifact from Washington's presidency, filled out by the President himself, are relatively rare, probably due to their ephemeral nature. In addition to a 1796 example in the Library of Congress, we are aware of only two other examples in institutional collections and just one in a private collection.