A Collector’s Vision: Creating the Albert H. Small Washingtoniana Collection

Photo of Albert H. Small’s office in Bethesda, Maryland
Now on view

In 2011, Albert H. Small donated his collection of 1,000 maps and prints, rare letters, photographs, and drawings that document the history of Washington, D.C., to GW. Updated in June with a dozen new objects, A Collector's Vision showcases highlights from this unrivaled collection.

Featured Objects

The Great Bakery for the United States Army at the Capitol, Washington, D.C.

During the Civil War, the Sixth Massachusetts Infantry built a bread bakery in the basement under the Capitol’s western terrace.

The Destruction of the Union Supply Trains at Manassas Junction

During the American Civil War, Union Private Robert Knox Sneden documented the destruction of Union supply trains at Manassas Junction, two days before the Second Battle of Bull Run, in his sketch diary.

A New Dissected Map of the World with a Picture Puzzle of the Capitol at Washington

American children of the late 1800s assembled this puzzle to study the U.S. Capitol and build a patriotic connection with the nation’s legislature.

Souvenir Lithograph of Washington, D.C. Landmarks

This nineteenth-century folding fan had a dual-purpose: to convey information about Washington's landmarks and to help ease the city’s legendary heat.

Steamboats of the Potomac River – 1936

Artist Paul McGehee painted Potomac River steamboats Potomac and District of Columbia as they looked in 1936.

Untitled map of the Battle of Bladensburg

Hand-drawn by an unknown English army officer in graphite, ink, and watercolor, this map is a very rare contemporary record of the Battle of Bladensburg during the War of 1812.

Untitled photograph of the old brick capitol

This building was constructed at First and A Streets, NE, for Congress’s temporary use after the British torched the U.S. Capitol during the War of 1812.

A Collection of Pictures showing the Present Condition of the Twenty-Six Original Boundary-Stones between the District of Columbia and Maryland

Albert H. Small’s very first collection item had helped spark an important movement to preserve the original stones that define the borders of the District of Columbia.

$100,000 Reward!

Issued six days after the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln on April 14, 1865, this poster features photographs of John Wilkes Booth and his accomplices glued at the top, since the technology to mass-produce photographs had not been invented.