Recently Digitized Early American Manuscript Collections, March 2016

By Mark Boonshoft
March 15, 2016
Stephen A. Schwarzman Building

As part of the ongoing Early American Manuscripts Project, NYPL has recently digitized a number of exciting collections relating to North America in the eighteenth century.

1. The Hugh Gaine Receipt Book and Hugh Gaine Papers document the life and business activities of an influential New York printer who from 1752 to 1783 printed and published the New-York Mercury, and later the New-York Gazette, and the Weekly Mercury.

Indentur of Apprenticeship of Hugh Gaine to Samuel Wilson and James Magee, 1740. Image ID: 5507778

2. New York Vice Admiralty Court Records detail the proceedings of a court charged with such cases as claims for salvage and seamen’s wages, claims for prize vessels and cargoes taken in wartime, and violations of British trade and navigation statutes, in some cases smuggling.

New York Vice-Admiralty Court, October 5, 1758. Image ID: 5529368

3. Reports of the Board of Treasury (1785-1787) document the proceedings of the institution charged with managing the treasury and finances of the United States during the Confederation era.  Most of the  volume consists of reports to Congress by the Board commissioners during this period, Arthur Lee (1740-1792), Walter Livingston (1740-1797), and Samuel Osgood (1748-1813).

Board of Treasury Report from September 20, 1787. Image ID: 5493074


4. Fort Niagara Statement of Account with Edward Pollarddocument the account of the British Army's garrison at Fort Niagara with trader Edward Pollard from 1773 December 25 to 1774 July 8, for sundries furnished to Indians, and the services of an interpreter and a blacksmith.

First Page of Fort Niagara Accounts. Image ID: 5492178

5. John Hyslop Diary from 1793, documents the journey of Hyslop, a Scottish-born baker, from New York City up the Connecticut River to Springfield.  It contains Hyslop’s notes on the many towns he passed through along the way.

Hyslop's Memorandum of the Country & Customs of the people since I left New York. Image ID: 5552054

About the Early American Manuscripts Project

With support from the The Polonsky Foundation, The New York Public Library is currently digitizing upwards of 50,000 pages of historic early American manuscript material. The Early American Manuscripts Project will allow students, researchers, and the general public to revisit major political events of the era from new perspectives and to explore currents of everyday social, cultural, and economic life in the colonial, revolutionary, and early national periods. The project will present on-line for the first time high quality facsimiles of key documents from America’s Founding, including the papers of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton and James Madison. Drawing on the full breadth of the Library’s manuscript collections, it will also make widely available less well-known manuscript sources, including business papers of Atlantic merchants, diaries of people ranging from elite New York women to Christian Indian preachers, and organizational records of voluntary associations and philanthropic organizations. Over the next two years, this trove of manuscript sources, previously available only at the Library, will be made freely available through