National Historical Publications & Records Commission

Publishing Historical Records

The Commission supports projects that publish historical documents important for the comprehension and appreciation of the history of the United States. The projects cover a broad sweep – from politics and the military to business history, reform efforts, and the arts.

Produced under modern, rigorous documentary editing standards, Commission-sponsored documentary projects make important materials from all periods of American history more accessible and understandable today and for the future.

In the course of its history, the Commission has funded or endorsed 296 publications projects. Of these, 229 have been completed. Commission-affiliated projects have produced nearly 900 volumes and over 9,000 reels of microfilm.

Many of these projects, which bring papers and documents together in annotated editions, have provided the backbone of research for well-known works such as:

  • Stephen Ambrose's Undaunted Courage, based on the journals of the Lewis and Clark expedition;
  • biographies of Benjamin Franklin by Walter Isaacson and H. W. Braund;
  • David McCullough's biography of John Adams;
  • Joseph Ellis's biography of George Washington;
  • and Ron Chernow's Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of Alexander Hamilton.