Public Release of Founders Online Website
Media Alert · Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Washington, DC

Free Access to the Papers of the Nation’s Founders


Washington, DC…Public launch of the new Founders Online website. This free online tool brings together the papers of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison in a single website that gives a first-hand account of the growth of democracy and the birth of the Republic.

Founders Online was created through a cooperative agreement between the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), the grant-making arm of the National Archives, and The University of Virginia (UVA) Press.

Student National History Day winners will be on hand to search the records of the very beginnings of American law, government, and our national story.


Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero
University of Virginia President Teresa A. Sullivan
NHPRC Executive Director Kathleen Williams


2:00 p.m., Thursday, June 13, 2013.


Enter through the Pennsylvania Avenue entrance, between 7th and 9th Streets
Room 105, National Archives Building
700 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC.

Metro: Archives-Navy Memorial-Penn Quarter station

For the past 50 years, the National Archives, through its National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), has invested in documentary editions of the original historical records of the Founding Era. Projects led by dedicated historians and experts in editing historical documents have collected—from archives across the country and around the world—copies of original 18th and 19th century documents, transcribed them, provided annotations, and produced hundreds of individual volumes. Now for the first time, the combined efforts of that scholarship will be available in a single online source, fully searchable, and freely accessible.

The Founders Online project emerged from hearings of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary held in February 2008. Inspired by the testimony of historians such as David McCullough and others, Congress provided funding and directed the Archivist of the United States to expedite public access to these founding documents through online publication.

Founders Online will include thousands of documents, replicating the contents of 242 volumes drawn from the published print editions. As each new print volume is completed, it will be added to this database of documents.

In addition, all of the unpublished and in-process materials (about 55,000 documents) will be posted online over the next three years. Researchers will be able to view transcribed, unpublished letters as they are being researched and annotated by the editors and staff.

Altogether, some 175,000 documents are projected to be on the Founders Online site. This website promises to be of immense value for the public’s ability to understand the world and intentions of the nation’s founders. It will also provide a bold economic, educational, and technical model that will provide important lessons as we plan future efforts for online publication of historical materials.

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  • See more information about the NHPRC []

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