James Rees, left, president of Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens, looks over a model of a proposed new library with donor Fred W. Smith, second from the left; his son, Wes Smith, center; and Boyce Ansley, right, a regent with the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, in Mount Vernon, Va. ANN HEISENFELT/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

The caretakers of George Washington’s historic Mount Vernon home announced plans Friday for a research library on the grounds of his estate, which would be built with $38 million donated by the Las Vegas-based Donald W. Reynolds Foundation.

The library will become home to originals and copies of close to 500 of Washington’s books, letters, surveys and other documents, as well as up to 90 volumes of records being assembled at the University of Virginia and 1,500 books from the founding era, curators said.

“We will have the best collection of George Washington books and manuscripts in the world, and we’ll be a magnet for research, for all scholars, of the 18th century,” said James C. Rees, president of Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens.

The $38 million gift is the largest ever to the estate, trustees said, and further establishes the Reynolds Foundation as a major benefactor of the first president’s legacy.

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