The publication of the Virginia Journals in two volumes inaugurates the Yale edition of The Papers of Benjamin Henry Latrobe, a projected ten-volume selection from the writings, watercolors, and architectural and engineering drawings of the father of the American architectural profession. Latrobe (1764-1820), English-born architect of the United States Capitol under Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe, set the course for a vast amount on nineteenth-century American architecture with such works as the Capitol, the Bank of Pennsylvania, and the Baltimore Cathedral. A pioneering engineer as well, he designed the nation's first comprehensive steam-powered waterworks in Philadelphia. Latrobe combined his professional concerns with an astonishing range of other interests and an acutely observant eye. His papers form one of the finest existing literary and pictorial descriptions of the young republic. The first two volumes comprise eleven journals written between 1795, when Latrobe arrived in America, and 1798. They are supplemented by selections from his sketchbooks and correspondence and his "Essay on Landscape," an illustrated guide to elementary watercolor. The journals record Latrobe's personal and professional life during his Virginia sojourn and contain many interesting anecdotes and observations on Virginia society, manners, and politics, as well as descriptions of topography, flora, and fauna. In addition, they reveal the means by which a highly educated and engaging European accommodated himself to a new society and the democratic spirit. These volumes also include a biographical appendix giving detailed sketches of the people Latrobe encountered. It constitutes an important scholarly resource and tool for both genealogists and historians of collective biography and social stratification.