founders online

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This Saturday is December 17th, International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers.

This year we are holding the event at the Q Center on Mississippi–the Q Center has a new board and director (a beloved friend of mine!) entirely committed to sex worker rights and trans and queer liberation.

After everything that has happened this year, come mourn and be refreshed by your community.

I’ll be speaking, as will activist, zinester, and advocate Emi Koyama,
trans sex worker, activist, and writer Francesca,
and founder of the online sex worker archive, radical sex worker of colour artist and writer Kat Salas.

There will also be material to write letters to imprisoned sex workers or make a submission to Working It if you’re inclined.

food, cocoa*, and community

*and other beverages

Jefferson’s Machiatto: More experiments with image overlays. Here’s a picture I took this morning at a coffee shop overlaid with sketches taken from Thomas Jefferson’s letters available at Founders Online http://founders.archives.gov/. I worked on this online archive of the U.S. founders for years in a former life, and remember a lot of these doodles well from my work back then. This image was edited with Snapseed and Inkscape

Founders Online

This afternoon, the National Archives launched Founders Online—a tool for seamless searching across the Papers of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Alexander Hamilton.  

Through Founders Online you can now trace the shaping of the nation, the extraordinary clash of ideas, the debates and discussions carried out through drafts and final versions of public documents as well as the evolving thoughts and principles shared in personal correspondence, diaries, and journals. This beta version of Founders Online was funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) and contains over 119,000 documents. New documents will be added to the site on a continual basis.

Read the full post on the AOTUS blog.

anonymous asked:

Hi, I don't know if you've managed to get a look at the manuscript, but in the letter where Hamilton likens himself to a jealous lover he says he had almost resolved to lavish no more of his affections on Laurens and reject him "as an inconstant and ungrateful" and there's a blank there on the Founder's Archive. Do you happen to know what was there?

That letter is not in the Alexander Hamilton Papers collection, so I haven’t been able to view it on microfilm.  But according to Founders Online, Hamilton left the blank there himself.  Sometimes the authors of letters would use lines/blanks to self-censor and imply some sort of curse word or other vulgar language.

One Year of Founders Online

This month we celebrate the one year anniversary of the launch of Founders Online – a tool for seamless searching across the papers of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Alexander Hamilton. In the past year, the site has received over 400,000 visits.

An example of the power of the site shows in its great search results. When I searched for “Cotton,” “Beverly,” and “Washington,” the results returned the exact document I had in mind – a diary entry by George Washington written in 1789 remarking on his visit to the cotton manufactury in my home town of Beverly, Massachusetts.

Read the full post on the AOTUS blog.

Colonial American Birthdays!

It’s Alexander Hamilton’s birthday today, so I thought I would look into the ways in which Americans celebrated birthdays in the late 18th-century. I found very, very little. So, I dug through everyone’s favorite website, Founders Online, and found any mention of birthdays I could. Royal birthdays were traditionally marked by large balls and other public celebrations, and after the colonies declared independence they began to celebrate George Washington’s birthday this way instead. Since Washington’s birthdays were outliers, I ignored them.

In general, it seems that personal birthdays were widely celebrated. Benjamin Franklin’s wife, Deborah, wrote him in 1765 to say that their friend Mr. Bartram (presumably John Bartram) “asked us to celebrate his Birthday.” Celebrating a birthday in someone’s absence seems to have been relatively common: Eleanor Morris, Mary Hewson, and Sarah Bache all wrote Franklin to let him know that they would be keeping his birthday, in 1768, 1779, and 1783 respectively. Morris says that she and her cousins celebrated his birthday (“that Happy Day”) by having plum pudding with their dinner and drinking tea to his health. Bache, his daughter, claims to keep Franklin’s birthday “in the most festive Manner in my power,” and invited sixty children over for a dance.

Birthdays for children were certainly celebrated. Franklin’s illegitimate grandson, William Temple Franklin, wrote to his cousin to say that he would be visiting a friend to celebrate their son’s first birthday. In 1771, Benjamin Franklin wrote to Deborah to say that he celebrated his grandson’s birthday with friends: "At Dinner, among other nice Things, we had a Floating Island, which they always particularly have on the Birth Days of any of their own Six Children.” A floating island is a French dessert, basically meringue floating on crème anglaise. Apparently, fancy desserts were considered an acceptable way to celebrate a birthday.

I found two instances of personalized poems written in honor of someone’s birthday. In 1767, Benjamin Franklin wrote a poem for Mary Stevenson, the daughter of his London landlady, which included the line “You’d have the Custom broke, you say, That marks with festive Mirth your natal Day,” which also implies that birthday parties were considered customary. On February 21st, 1793, George and Martha Washington sent a birthday greeting to Elizabeth Willing Powel and expressed their regrets that they were unable to attend her 50th birthday party that evening. They also enclosed a personalized birthday poem. In 1814, John Quincy Adams’s seven-year-old son wrote from Saint Petersburg to say that he had performed in a French play at the birthday dinner of a Mr. Krehmer (presumably Sebastian Krehmer, a banker). The dinner ended with a dance.

John Adams, in true New England fashion, marked his 37th birthday by writing this in his journal: “Thirty Seven Years, more than half the Life of Man, are run out.—What an Atom, an Animalcule I am!—The Remainder of my Days I shall rather decline, in Sense, Spirit, and Activity. My Season for acquiring Knowledge is past.” Slightly more optimistically, he writes, “And Yet I have my own and my Childrens Fortunes to make. My boyish Habits, and Airs are not yet worn off.” Two years later, he noted his 39th birthday but wrote nothing else about it and seemed to have spent most of the day traveling.

If we sometimes caricature Ben Franklin as our most bacchanalian founder, and John Adams as a bit of a Puritan stick-in-the-mud, I feel like these examples provide a good range. There are many other examples of letters that simply begin with a birthday greeting, or dates that note that it’s the author’s birthday. Most people seem to have kept track of their birthdays and mentioned them to friends and family, and quite a few seem to have celebrated with dinners, poems, special desserts, and even dances. 

So, what about our birthday boy, Alexander Hamilton? Well, he never mentions his birthday in any of his surviving letters. On January 10th, 1772, the day before his 17th or 15th birthday, he wrote to his employer, Nicholas Cruger, to let him know how business was going. At the end, he thanked Cruger “for the Apples you were so kind as to send me,” but there is no other personal information. It seems extremely unlikely that these apples were some sort of birthday gift, since the last letter he’d had from Cruger was from December 20th, 1771. The only notable thing about Hamilton’s birthday seems to be that he didn’t take a break. There are plenty of work-related letters sent on the 10th, 11th, and 12th of January throughout his life. On his 34th or 36th birthday, he wrote a particularly lengthy one to Thomas Jefferson, entirely concerned with politics. So if you were curious about how Hamilton celebrated his birthday…he might not have. 

Happy 259th/261st birthday, Hammy!

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In this exclusive interview, Finn and Jack Harries, Founders and Directors of online production company Digital Native Studios, discuss the key to a popular YouTube channel and learning from traditional TV at the MIP markets. (more)