Strangers to Us All Lawyers and Poetry

George Watterston


Lawyer, librarian, novelist, and poet

"George Watterson, according to a short bio, posted on the web by William Reese Company, a New Haven, Connecticut antiquarian book dealer was "the first full-time Librarian of Congress. Watterston (1783-1854) was the son of Scottish immigrants who settled in Washington, DC in 1791. He studied for the law, and opened an office in Hagerstown, MD, the same year . . . his first literary work appeared. Disenchanted with the law, he pursued further literary efforts, published a play, two more novels, and some poetry. He traveled, and published some sketches based on his trip to Jamaica. In 1813, he was hired as editor of the Washington City Gazette, but was drawn away to serve at the Battle of Bladensburg. In 1815 Madison appointed him the first full-time Librarian of Congress, and he continued with his writing and journalism on the side. His tenure, which lasted until 1829, was highly controversial and political; when he left office, he took with him and claimed as his own Jefferson's manuscript catalogue of his gift to the Library (he had edited it for publication in 1815). His later years were devoted to miscellaneous writing projects, and he was involved in the National Monument Society."

[See generally, bio, in American National Biography]


George Watterston, The Wanderer in Jamaica: A Poem (Washington [D.C.]: W. Cooper, 1810)

______________, The Scenes of Youth, a Poem (Washington City: Printed by Rapine and Elliot, 1813)


George Watterson, The Lawyer; or, Man as He Ought Not to Be, A Tale (Pittsburgh, Printed for and published by Zadok Cramer, 1808)

______________, The Child of Feeling, a comedy in five acts (George Town, [D.C.]: J. Milligan, 1809)

______________, Glencarn, or, The Disappointments of Youth, a novel (Alexandria [Virginia]: Printed by Cottom & Stewart, 1810)

______________, A Memoir on the History, Culture, Manufactures, Uses, &c. of the Tobacco Plant (Washington City: Printed by Jonathan Elliot, 1817)

______________, Letters from Washington on the Constitution and Laws with sketches of some of the prominent public characters of the United States, written during the winter of 1817-1818 (Washington: Jacob Gideon, 1818)

______________, The L . . . Family at Washington; or, A Winter in the Metropolis (Washington: Davis and Force, 1822)

______________, A Course of Study, Preparatory to the Bar or the Senate: to which is annexed a memoir on the private or domestic lives of the Romans (Washington: Davis and Force, 1823)

______________, Wanderer in Washington (Washington: Printed at the Washington Press, by Jonathan Elliot, Jr., 1827)

______________, Gallery of American Portraits (Washington: Published by Pishey Thompson ; A. Rothwell, printer, 1830)(Washington: F. Taylor, 1836) [online text]

______________, A Picture of Washington: giving a description of all the public buildings, grounds, &c., ... to which is added, a correct map of the city, plans of the floors of each house of Congress, &c., and a Congressional directory (Washington: W.M. Morrison, 1840) [online text]

______________, A New Guide to Washington (Washington: R. Farnham, 1842) [online text]