American Founders: A Guide to Their Online Papers and Publications
This guide is a portal to the online words of the men who served in or as diplomats for the Continental Congresses, the Constitutional Convention, and the Federal government of the United States until the close of the War of 1812.
Jurretta J. Heckscher, Reference Specialist for Early American History, Researcher and Reference Services Division
Created: January 31, 2020
Last Updated: October 25, 2022
. . . let us save what remains: not by vaults and locks which fence them from the public eye and use, . . . but by such a multiplication of copies, as shall place them beyond the reach of accident. Thomas Jefferson to Ebenezer Hazard, February 18, 1791
The digital resources described in this guide provide online access, in varying degrees, to the personal papers and/or publications of the major founders of the American Republic—that is, those men who served in roles of national political leadership between 1774 and 1815—and members of their immediate families. In some cases, official compilations of government documents are also included because of the prominence of a particular founder's words in the records of the governing body in question.
If an online resource includes a significant body of material written by or to one or more members of a founder's family that is not directed to or from the founder himself, the resource appears under a separate heading for the family member or family group.
Some materials are available by subscription only, and are so designated. They can be consulted onsite at the Library of Congress.
Please note that the links in this guide are being provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only; they do not constitute an endorsement or an approval by the Library of Congress of any of the products, services or opinions of the organization or individual responsible for the site linked. The Library of Congress bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality, or content of the external site, or for that of subsequent links. Contact the external site for answers to questions regarding its content.
This guide will continue to be updated and expanded, and additional resources will be added as they become available.