A University of Virginia publishing group has officially launched a new website that offers free access to papers written by our founding fathers. Founders Online is now up for everyone to use.
The website was developed by the UVA press's electronic imprint called Rotunda. Rotunda staff started the project in 2011, under an agreement with the national archives.
The Founders Online site features papers penned by six people from America's founding era - the first four presidents of the United States plus Alexander Hamilton, and Benjamin Franklin. The papers of George Washington and James Madison are housed at UVA.
Users can search through more than 119,000 fully annotated documents to get a first-hand account of the dialogue that formed our democracy.
"If you are a high school teacher that wanted your students to look at the presidential papers. If you were just someone who didn't have access to a big research library like UVA and wanted to read what James Madison had to say about the constitution - which was an awful lot because he authored it - then this makes it accessible to everybody," said Jason Coleman, promotions and marketing manager for University of Virginia Press.
The project replicates more than 240 volumes of the published print editions. As each new print volume is finished, it will be added to the database.
UVA press staff got to visit the national archives in Washington, DC last Thursday for an official website launch ceremony.
Founders Online will feature about 175,000 documents when the project is complete.
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