WASHINGTON -- Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) issued the following statement today praising the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), the grant-making body of the National Archives, for speeding up its online posting of some 5,000 previously unpublished documents and letters from our nation’s founding fathers that can now be viewed free of charge by anyone, anywhere.
Last May, Sen. Carper examined the delay in releasing these important American papers by calling a hearing of his Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information, Federal Services, and International Security.
At that hearing Sen. Carper voiced concerns that the published writings of our founding fathers could only be printed and purchased by large public libraries with significant resources. For example, a complete set of 26 volumes of Alexander Hamilton’s writings costs about $2,600.
“Our nation’s history should not stay walled-up behind the doors of only large libraries that are not accessible to many students and researchers,” said Sen. Carper. “That’s why I fought to get the National Archives to publish these documents online and in a timely matter so that anyone interested in our history can more easily read and learn about the early Americans here at the birth of our nation.”
Last fall, Sen. Carper helped pass legislation (S. 3477) requiring this historic commission to speed up the publication of documents, publish letters online, and appoint an outside advisory group of nationally recognized historians to help guide this new process.