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About Early Access documents

What are Early Access documents? They are “early versions” of transcribed documents that have not yet been fully annotated and published by the editors. The objective is to provide preliminary access to documents that will appear later in final editions. The Early Access team will proofread, digitize, and make publicly available over 55,000 items from the papers of John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington. Early versions of transcribed documents will be added to Founders Online in stages, beginning with the Madison and Washington documents, the Jefferson documents in December 2013, and the Adams and Franklin documents in 2014.

Documents Compass, a program of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, entered into a cooperative agreement with the NHPRC to engage in this Early Access project in 2009.

The text of each Early Access document has been verified, but they have not been reviewed for accuracy and clarity by the editors at each project. Please note that these documents do not represent the final version of a document, but, as the name indicates, a preliminary version. Information about the repository that owns an original document from which the Early Access document has been checked is provided here, but the type of text is not usually described here (e.g., whether it is an autograph letter signed, a recipient’s copy, a letterbook copy; Madison documents 1823–1836 do not include this information), nor does this website account for all versions of a text. The Early Access team has attempted to use the preferred text for each document, but the team was not always able to gain access to such versions. This information and more historical context for every document will be available in the fully annotated volumes.

View all Early Access documents

Early Access documents should not be cited as authoritative in formal research. The links to Early Access are not permanent. Actual document counts will be lower than those from the initial releases as documents are replaced by authoritative versions.

Early Access Releases, December 2014

  1. From the Adams Papers, Adams Family Correspondence and Papers of John Adams: 722 documents (May 1785–December 1787)
  2. From the Adams Papers, Papers of John Adams: 8030 documents (January 1787–June 1826)
  3. From the Adams Papers, Adams Family Correspondence: 4835 documents (May 1798–December 1826)

Early Access Releases, December 2013

  1. From the Papers of Thomas Jefferson: 9951 documents (July 1804–3 March 1809)
  2. From the Papers of Thomas Jefferson: Retirement Series: 6188 documents (January 1819–4 July 1826)

Early Access Releases, June 2013

  1. From the Papers of James Madison: 5788 documents (1806–March 1809; March 1814–March 1817)
  2. From the Papers of James Madison: 3292 documents (July 1823–June 1836)
  3. From the Papers of George Washington: 12,240 documents (March 1780–December 1783; April 1796–March 1797)