Explore writings of "Founding Fathers" in rare newspapers and magazines

A collector's perspective

Jonathan Krause has a longstanding and deep interest in American history, and his newspaper collection reflects that interest, as well as the focus and diligent effort that made the collection a reality. He said:

"As a writer, I was primed to appreciate the writings of others. When I looked through the pages of American history, I found most of the leading figures were not only writers, but writers of genius. Their output could include letters, speeches, and essays. They were known in history by their actions, which spoke to us in one way. Their true character, the very essence of their personality, could best be discovered in their writings.

The Founding Fathers were my main interest, but that interest extended to the lesser fathers (Jay, Dickinson, J.Q. Adams, etc.) and eventually to Lincoln (a Founding Father after a fashion), F. Douglass and the abolitionists like Wendell Phillips and Charles Sumner, whose matchless oratory in service to a noble cause indelibly stamped their words on the minds of an uncertain public. Whoever I thought was significant in history, even outside America, such as Cromwell, Catherine the Great, Marx, Simón Bolívar, Napoleon, Toussaint Louverture etc., I tried to find their writings in newspapers (or a newsbook in the case of Cromwell, whose letters preceded the appearance of newspapers)."

In specializing in the writings, I was acting contrary to the usual collecting trends, which stress events. I’ve tried to select pieces and periods less familiar to most people, such as the anti-Jeffersonian rantings mainly of his first term and his post-presidency letters when he was freer to say what he liked, the English and French periods of Thomas Paine, the essays of Hamilton in the 1790s, the London years of Franklin, the late letters of Madison on the Constitution, the historical essays of Adams, the religious utterances of Washington, Adams, and Lincoln, the conservative essays of Dickinson and J.Q. Adams(under the pseudonym Publicola) etc. What emerges from the writings, especially of the Fathers, are real men, not merely icons, projecting the roiling hatreds and jealousies attendant on the political life."