Sen. Carper Applauds National Archives’ Efforts to Post Founding Fathers’ Documents Online

WASHINGTON – Today, Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), chairman of the Senate subcommittee on Government Information, applauded an agreement between the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), the grantmaking arm of the National Archives, and The University of Virginia (UVA) Press to make freely available online the historical documents of key figures from our country’s founding.  In 2007, Sen. Carper co-authored legislation with then Senator John Warner (R-Va.), the Presidential Historical Records Preservation Act of 2008 (S. 3477), to support historical preservation and increased public access to historical records and documents related to U.S. Presidents, particularly Founding Fathers who do not have federally managed Presidential Libraries. 


"This is a wonderful opportunity for all Americans to have increased access to information about our Founding Fathers," said Sen. Carper. "This partnership between the National Archives and the University of Virginia Press will preserve and protect these precious pieces of American history for future generations of Americans. Just as important as the preservation effort, providing free online access to these rare documents and records will help Americans gain insight into these critical figures who helped create our country and led it during its formative years."


The National Historical Publications and Records Commission and The University of Virginia Press will create a new website which provides access to the fully annotated published papers of key figures in the nation’s Founding era. The project is designed to include the papers of George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and Benjamin Franklin. The National Historical Publications and Records Commission will provide funding in the amount of up to $2 million for the UVA Press to undertake the work on the published papers.


Through this web resource, users will be able to read, browse, and search tens of thousands of documents from the Founding Era. A prototype website including the contents of 154 volumes drawn from print editions of the papers of Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and Madison will be prepared by October 2011. The fully public version will be launched by June 2012 and will also include the 27 volumes of the Papers of Alexander Hamilton. By June 2013, the Founders Online expects to add the 39 published volumes of the Papers of Benjamin Franklin. The new resource will include the complete contents of 242 printed volumes, including all of the existing document transcriptions and the editors’ explanatory notes.