Peter Force, printer and document collector, intended to publish rare pamphlets, correspondence, and proceedings relating to the "Origin, Settlement, and Progress of the Colonies in North America" that covered the time period 1763-1789. After years of work, the final (but unfinished) result was 9 volumes of material covering the years 1774-1776. Since this material is of extreme importance to scholars of the Revolutionary War period, and is collected in this one source, Northern Illinois University Libraries received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities in order to provide free electronic access to Force's American Archives. Through the use of sophisticated indexing and searching software provided by the University of Chicago, as well as the thematic indexing of this material by a subject expert (Allan Kulikoff, Abraham Baldwin Professor of the Humanities at the University of Georgia), this project is able to provide a uniquely new way to access these documents.
The following information provides an overview of the mark-up methods and rationales:
- All original spellings were retained and used for the authority files, including hyphens (e.g. New-York.)
- Misspellings in Force's Table of Contents were corrected to match the text.
- When known, people's full birth names and titles were used for the name authority file. For unknown authors/recipients, the term “Anonymous” was used.
- For words such as "Governor," both the British and American spellings are used in the texts; for consistency's sake the British spelling ("Governour") is used in the name authority file.
- The following books were consulted to identify persons' names:
- Judd, Gerrit P. IV. Members of Parliament: 1734-1832. New Haven: Yale
University Press, 1955.
- Sainty, J.C. and R.O. Bucholz. Officials of the Royal Household 1660-1837. Part
I: Department of the Lord Chamberlain and Associated Offices. London:
University of London Institute of Historical Research, 1997.
- Namier, Lewis and John Brooke. The House of Commons: 1754-1790. Volumes
II and III. New York: Oxford University Press, 1964.
- The Parliamentary History of England, from the Earliest Period to the Year 1803.
Volumes XVII and XVIII. London: T.C. Hansard, 1813.
- Purcell, L. Edward, ed. Who Was Who in the American Revolution. New York:
Facts On File, 1993.
- Faragher, John Mack, ed. The Encyclopedia of Colonial and Revolutionary
America. Facts On File, 1990.
- “North America” and “England” were appended to the where authority file records, so searchers can use those terms more broadly to find documents written in, presented in, or sent to the geographic areas of North America and England (e.g. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, North America.)
Individual Documents and Their Titles
- We created documents based upon Peter Force's table of contents, but every table of contents (TOC) listing is not a separate document. Documents were first defined by date, and then by separate subjects within that date. Peter Force's table of contents was even more detailed, so multiple TOC listings may show up in one document.
- All document titles come from Peter Force's table of contents. Some were expanded upon either by describing the content, or using the header within the text itself. If there was additional content in the index, that was also used.
- Series 5, Volume 1 does not have a table of contents listing for columns 1564 to the end. Titles for each document were created following the general structure Force employed previously.
- Documents which are listed twice in the Table of Contents are saved separately, under their respective sub-parts, unless the sub-parts are not significantly different. Example: a document may be listed under two separate Correspondence, Proceedings, Etc. If this is the case, it is only used once, usually in order of chronological sequence. There are some documents that made more sense in a certain sub-part, because the surrounding documents were of a similar topic. If a document was listed in a Correspondence, Proceedings, Etc. sub-part, but also within a Convention Proceedings, these documents were saved twice. They will differ in content, however, because the Correspondence, Proceedings, Etc. document will not contain any of the proceedings related to the document. They will have a referring tag to the similar document that exists in another sub-part.
- Documents which are not listed in the Table of Contents will fall in order of their sequence relative to the documents surrounding them. A note will state "This document was not listed in Force's Table of Contents."
- Some documents included footnotes that contained items which were deemed to be separate documents (both by Force's TOC and by their content.) These documents which were footnotes in the print edition have a link to the document that referred to it and a note which says “In the print edition, the current document was a footnote of this document.”
Linking to Other Documents
- Some documents refer to other documents, in which case there is a link from the referring document with a note “Refer to this document.” In the document which was referred to there is a link to the referring documents which says “Referred to by this document.”
- Some documents, while not referring specifically to another document, should be referred to by other documents. Both documents should have the link stating “Refer to this document.”
- Not every document has a theme. It may not include enough content to warrant a theme.
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