Digital Commonwealth

Colonial and Revolutionary America

Boston Public Library

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Boston Public Library holds thousands of American manuscripts, printed books, and documents from the Colonial and Revolutionary War periods. The materials document American intellectual and political life before, during, and shortly after the Revolution. Highlights include: over 1,300 individual manuscripts, including diaries, commonplace books, correspondence, maps, and administrative records; foundational works of American democracy, including the only surviving copy of the first printing of Thomas Jefferson's bill for establishing religious freedom in Virginia and the first edition of The Federalist Papers; and a copy of the first edition of Benjamin Franklin's Experiments and Observations on Electricity, annotated by Franklin himself.

Locations in this Collection: