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Papers of 6 Founding Fathers Going Online

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(Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

(Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — The University of Virginia Press announced Friday that it is putting the papers of six Founding Fathers on the Internet.

The official launch of Founders Online is set for Thursday at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. The URL for the new website will be announced at that time.

The U.Va. Press said in a news release that it began developing the project in 2011 in partnership with the grant-making arm of the National Archives. Historians and editors are taking hundreds of printed volumes of 18th and 19th century documents and putting them online.

Eventually the site will contain about 175,000 documents from George Washington, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.

Mark H. Saunders, interim director of the U.Va. Press, said the projects brings the papers together “in a user-friendly website that gives Americans and people around the world a first-hand account of the historic conversation that formed our democracy and allowed our country to thrive.”

For the past 50 years, the National Archives has been collecting original documents from the founding era and transcribing them into printed volumes.

In 2008, after hearing testimony from prominent historians, Congress directed the national archivist to expedite public access to the founders’ documents through online publication. Funding from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission in 2010 made the project possible.

“This resource will be of immense value for the public to understand both the world and intentions of the nation’s founders,” said Kathleen Williams, executive director of the NHPRC.

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