Founders Online

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Founders Online
HeadquartersUniversity of Virginia, ,
OwnerNational Historical Publications and Records Commission
The University of Virginia Press
ProductsPapers and correspondence
185,000 documents
ServicesSearchable database
Free to the public

Founders Online is a research website providing free access to a digitized collection representing the papers of seven of the most influential figures in the founding of the United States.[1][2] Among the 185,000 documents available through the website's searchable database are the papers of John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington.[3][4] The database also includes correspondence between these Founders and hundreds of other figures. The website is a cooperative venture between the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), the grant-making arm of the National Archives, and The University of Virginia Press.[1]

Collected papers of Founding Fathers[edit]

The Founders Online website, launched on June 13, 2013, enables students, researchers, scholars, and the general public to read what the Founders wrote and debated in the years leading up to and following the nation's formation. The subjects they discussed between themselves and others ranged from public policies and democratic principles to slavery and the Constitution. The works available also provide insight into the Founders' friendships and personal lives.[1]

The website's collection is the result of a 50-year effort by scholars to locate, transcribe, annotate, and digitize 18th and 19th century documents held by archives worldwide. From these works, hundreds of individual volumes have been published that can also be accessed.[1][3]

The collection is derived from the letterpress editions of the Founders' original papers, which were drawn from the following sources:[5]

Besides the complete works of these individuals, Founders Online includes the selected papers of John Jay, first Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.[5] Eventually, the website's collection is expected to exceed 200,000 documents.[2][6] The website is based at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.


The website's editorial work is made possible through federal funding from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Additional major funding is provided by a wide range of foundations, corporations, and private individuals. Also sponsoring Founders Online's editorial projects are The University of Virginia, Princeton University, Massachusetts Historical Society, Columbia University. Yale University, American Philosophical Society, University of Chicago, and Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Donohue, Keith (June 13, 2013). "The Papers of the Founding Fathers Are Now Online". White House. Retrieved January 31, 2022.
  2. ^ a b "Founders Online: About". National Archives and Records Administration. Retrieved January 31, 2022.
  3. ^ a b Eckert, Ellen (February 10, 2015). "Founders Online Review" (PDF). Society of American Archivists. Retrieved January 31, 2022.
  4. ^ "Founders Online News: Papers of John Jay added to Founders Online". Founders Online, National Archives and Records Administration. September 15, 2020. Retrieved March 8, 2022.
  5. ^ a b "Founders Online". University of Virginia Press. Retrieved January 31, 2022.
  6. ^ Groves, Kaylyn (June 14, 2013). "U.S. National Archives Launches Founders Online". Association of Research Libraries. Retrieved January 31, 2022.
  7. ^ "Major Funders of the Founding Fathers Projects". Founders Online, National Archives and Records Administration. Retrieved February 2, 2022.

External links[edit]