Major American History Collection Digitized

Posted: September 17, 2013

We are delighted to announce that Adam Matthew has signed an agreement with The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History in New York, 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 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 the new agreement Adam Matthew will digitize the vast majority of the archive (around 50,000 items). Users will be able to peruse such items as:

  • 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, and signed copy, given to his nephew, Jonathan Williams
  • Manuscript letters – such as the earliest letter in the collection from George Washington to his ‘honored madam’ (mother) when he was 25; John Adam’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, relinquishing 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 on April 15, 1912
Among themes covered are: African American history; the American Revolution; American expansion (such as 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.

“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,” commented James Basker, President of the Gilder Lehrman Institute.

Adam Matthew will publish the collection in two parts. Part 1, containing material from earlier in history, (1493-1859), will be released in late 2014.

About the Gilder Lehrman Institute

The Gilder Lehrman Institute, founded in 1994 by philanthropists Richard Gilder and Lewis Lehrman, is a nonprofit devoted to the teaching and learning of American history. The Institute’s twenty-year track record of providing teacher training and classroom resources, drawing on a roster of leading historians and a collection of more than 60,000 primary source documents, has earned Gilder Lehrman international recognition, including awards from the White House, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Organization of American Historians. Each year, the Institute offers support and resources to tens of thousands of teachers, and, through them, enhances the education of hundreds of thousands of students of all backgrounds across public, including charter, private, and parochial schools.

For further information, visit or call +1 (646) 366-9666

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