Digitization of Major American History Collection Announced

Renowned Gilder Lehrman Collection to be published by award-winning publisher Adam Matthew

(New York, NY – September 17, 2013) The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History announced today the signing of an agreement with Adam Matthew to digitize and publish the Gilder Lehrman Collection (GLC), one of the most important archives on American history in existence.

Spanning from 1493 until the twentieth century, and particularly strong on the Revolutionary War and Civil War periods, the GLC includes letters, diaries, maps, pamphlets, printed books, newspapers, photographs, and ephemera. The political, social, and economic history of the United States is documented in this remarkable collection.

Under this new agreement Adam Matthew will digitize c.50,000 items, the vast majority of the archive.

Example items to be made available include:

  • The Barcelona Letter, 1493. An early copy of the first letter from Christopher Columbus to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain on his voyage to what was to become the Americas.
  • The Bloody Massacre, 1770. Paul Revere’s hand-colored, illustrated handbill, depicting the mass shooting in Boston, May 5, 1770, by the British 29th Regiment forces.
  • Two versions of the United States Constitution: Pierce Butler’s first draft and Benjamin Franklin’s personal signed copy, given to his nephew, Jonathan Williams.
  • Manuscript letters, such as the earliest letter in the collection from George Washington to his “honoured madam” (mother) when he was 25; John Adams’s sarcastic list of George Washington’s “talents” (talent #1 being “his good looks”) written only eight years after Washington’s death, and Abraham Lincoln’s letter to Mary Owens, releasing her from any engagement to marry (May 7, 1837).
  • Robert E. Lee’s request to surrender to Lt. Gen. Ulysses Grant at the Battle of Appomattox, 1865 – one of the last battles of the American Civil War.
  • The Emancipation Proclamation, January 1, 1863, signed by Abraham Lincoln.
  • A letter from Dr. Washington Dodge, witness to and survivor of the sinking of the Titanic, written while on board the Carpathia, April 15, 1912.

Among themes covered are African American history; the American Revolution; American expansion (i.e., Lewis & Clark); the Civil War; the Constitution; the Dutch in America; French and British rivalry; the Gold Rush; the Mexican War; Native Americans; slavery and abolition; the war of 1812; and women in American history.

Adam Matthew will publish the collection in two parts. Part 1, containing material from 1493 to 1859 will be released in late 2014.

James Basker, President of the Gilder Lehrman Institute: “This exciting agreement with Adam Matthew will enable scholarly and higher education audiences across the world to work closely with our unique archive of primary sources.”

The Gilder Lehrman Collection on American History will join a suite of more than 50 primary source digital products published by Adam Matthew.


About Adam Matthew
Adam Matthew, an imprint of SAGE, is an award-winning publisher of digital primary source collections for the humanities and social sciences. Sourced from leading libraries and archives around the world, their unique research and teaching collections cover a wide range of subject areas from medieval family life to 20th-century history, literature and culture. www.amdigital.co.uk