This collection is made up of correspondence, research notes and extracts, bibliographies, financial records, and other items related to printer, publisher, and historian Peter Force. Most of the items pertain to Force's interest in early American history and to the source materials he gathered for publication in American Archives, his multivolume documentary history of the Revolutionary War era.
This collection is made up of correspondence, research notes and extracts, bibliographies, financial records, and other items related to printer, publisher, and historian Peter Force. Most of the items relate to Force's interest in early American history and to the source materials he gathered for publication in American Archives, a documentary history of the Revolutionary War era.
The Correspondence series (approximately 1 linear foot) largely consists of incoming and outgoing letters regarding Peter Force. The earliest group of items is copied and original manuscripts dated between August 17, 1774, and February 26, 1793. They concern the Boston Port Act (August 17, 1774), George Measam's desire to leave the bulk of his estate to the United States Treasury in support of the war against Great Britain (June 20, 1781), Kentucky residents' efforts to form a state (January 2, 1784), early efforts to collect primary sources related to American history, and other subjects.
The bulk of the material (April 18, 1820-December 25, 1867) pertains directly to Peter Force, and frequently concerns his efforts to collect and publish primary source materials regarding the history of North America (particularly the United States). Force's correspondents asked about and otherwise discussed letters, documents, pamphlets, and other materials from the 18th century (and, rarely, earlier), including some owned by Force and others held in state historical societies and similar repositories. The letters concern many aspects of early American history, including relations between Native American tribes and the government, and the years leading up to the Revolution. Charles Fenton Mercer wrote at length about the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal (August 2, 1827).
Many items concern Force's publishing career, including a group of letters from William Thompson, who wished to work for Force (May 1825-July 1825), and items exchanged by Force and Matthew St. Clair Clarke, his collaborator on American Archives. Force, Clarke, and other writers discussed the project and similar efforts, such as a documentary history of Parliament. A significant group of letters and financial documents relate to a dispute between Force and John Cook Rives, another collaborator onAmerican Archives. Two letters from April 1861 mention the Civil War; Charles B. Norton offered to store Force's large library of Americana on account of the possibility of an attack on Washington, D.C., but Force refused the offer. Other items include a copyright document for Tracts & other Papers, relating principally to the Origin, Settlement, & Progress of the Colonies in North America, from the Discovery of the Country to the year 1776, Volume 1 (March 26, 1836). A small number of letters postdate Force's death; these concern historical manuscripts and related publications.
The Notes, Extracts, and Bibliographies series (approximately 1.75 linear feet) contains materials related to Peter Force's interest in early American history. Much of the series is comprised of lists of and extracts from historical manuscripts and publications, most frequently related to the American Revolution. The bulk of the series concerns the period from 1763 to around 1780, including commentary on the Stamp Act and economic relations between Great Britain and the North American colonies, the Continental Congresses, the Articles of Confederation, and the Revolutionary War. Items of note include a daily timeline of the mid-1770s, a 42-page bibliography of works on American history and travel published between 1742 and 1788, and an essay about the history of the United States flag. Some of the materials relate to slaves and to Native Americans, and many are arranged into bundles centered around topics such as the Declaration of Independence. A group of Revolutionary War songs is also present.
Additional subjects include disputes about the United States-Mexico border (April 5, 1853), a proposed history of Kent County, Maryland (April 5, 1852), and Force's book reviews and newspaper articles. A bound volume contains a list of publications printed at his shop between April 1826 and October 1839. The series includes a document by Force about his progress on American Archives and a few items respecting Congressional debate over funding for the project. A large group of materials relates to the early history of European printing and the evolution of standardized typography, including notes and extensive lists of early printed works.
The Financial Records (approximately 0.25 linear feet) pertain to Peter Force's professional interests, particularly with regard to the compilation and publication of American Archives. Accounts, agreements, receipts, and other items reflect the costs of printing, illustrating, binding, and publishing the work. Other items concern Force's attempts to defend the value of his work to Congress and Congress's role in funding the project. Many relate to Force's business relationships with Matthew St. Clair Clarke and John C. Rives. Personal records, such as an account of expenses during a trip to North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, are also present.
The Printed Items series (approximately 0.25 linear feet) consists of newspapers, newspaper clippings, and pamphlets. Peter Force and others wrote articles about the disputed United States-Mexico border, the possible discovery of the Northwest Passage, Force's personal library, and the founding of the United States. The series includes a number of pamphlets (housed in the Book Division) and whole issues of periodicals such as the Army and Navy Chronicle, Daily National Intelligencer, Daily National Republican, and other newspapers. The pamphlets concern the Revolutionary War, United States and Maryland politics between the 1830s and 1850s, and a panorama by "Sinclair" about the life of Napoléon Bonaparte after 1815. "Epeögraphy," a pamphlet by Joseph B. Manning, is a proposal for a phonetic writing system.