June 8, 2000 Library Publishes Cumulative Index to 25-Volume Congressional Correspondence Series

Contact: Helen Dalrymple (202) 707-1940

The Library of Congress has just published the cumulative index to its 25-volume series containing the surviving correspondence of the 344 delegates who attended the Continental Congresses during and after the American Revolution.

In addition to the 800-page index, volume 26 of Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774- 1789, edited by Ronald M. Gephart and Paul H. Smith, includes a complete record of delegate attendance for the 15-year span that the Continental Congresses met. Both the index and comprehensive delegate list are an amalgam of the index entries and lists of delegates in the 25 preceding volumes of correspondence.

The cumulative index, a 3.5 million-byte file in electronic form, contains more than 20,000 main entries, from John Abail, a Seneca Indian chief, to John Zubly, a Georgia delegate, with an additional 30,000 subentries and more than 250,000 page references. While the main entries are arranged in alphabetical order, the descriptive subentries are arranged chronologically and in ascending order of the initial volume and page reference.

The overall arrangement allows the reader to scan lengthy main entries such as Congress; Continental Army; Washington, George, and individual countries and states in the order in which events unfolded. Readers can now follow easily the legislative careers of well-known figures such as John Adams, Henry Laurens, James Madison, and Robert Morris as well as such congressional stalwarts as Roger Sherman of Connecticut, Thomas McKean of Delaware, Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts, John Witherspoon of New Jersey, James Duane of New York, Hugh Williamson of North Carolina, James Wilson of Pennsylvania, William Ellery of Rhode Island, and Richard Henry Lee of Virginia.

In addition, the index contains hundreds of references to such topics as ships, seaports, privateers and prizes, admiralty court cases, foreign statesmen and military leaders, paper currency, newspapers, and pseudonymous pamphlets. It also sheds light on Congressional involvement in military and diplomatic affairs, the work of hundreds of congressional commit tees, the affairs of congressional departments such as war and treasury, and the contests over the location of the federal capital. There are dozens of entries as well for Western lands, Indian tribes, exploration and migration, Canada, and the Spanish border lands.

The publication of this material began in 1976 with a generous grant from the Ford Foundation. It supersedes the 80-year-old Letters of Members of the Continental Congress prepared in eight volumes by Edmund C. Burnett.

A digital version of volumes 1-25 is currently available on CD-ROM from Historical Database. It is the first time that a major historical editing project of the nation's founding has been available in a fully searchable electronic database as well as a traditional print format. It may be ordered for $325 from Historical Database, 6387 Southeast Highway #42, Summerfield, FL 34491 or by calling (800) 347-3094. More information may be obtained on the company's Web site (www.historicaldatabase.com External).

An internet version is planned for 2001 to be accessible on the Library of Congress American Memory Web site memory.loc.gov. A number of related materials, such as the Library's 34-volume Journals of the Continental Congress are already accessible on the Century of Lawmaking home page (memory.loc.gov/ammem/amlaw).

Volume 26 of Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774-1789 is available by mail from the Superintendent of Documents, New Orders, PO Box 371954, Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954. Telephone orders may be placed by calling (202) 512-1800 to charge copies to VISA or MasterCard, or by sending a fax to (202) 512-2250.

The 805-page work sells for $49 (cite stock number 030-000-00285-7 when ordering by mail or by telephone). Previous volumes, at various prices, may still be obtained from the Superintendent of Documents.


PR 00-086
ISSN 0731-3527