Documentary Editing, Association for


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Documentary Editing: Journal of the Association for Documentary Editing, Volume 30, Numbers 1 and 2: 2008 ISSN 0196-7134


© 2008 The Association for Documentary Editing. Used by permission.


On December 15, 2007, The Washington Post published an article by staff writer Jeffrey H. Birnbaum titled “In the Course of Human Events, Still Unpublished: Congress Pressed on Founders’ Papers.” This article focused on complaints that the editions publishing the papers of Founders John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington, collectively known at the Founding Fathers Papers (FFP), which noted historian David McCullough called “as worthy as any publishing effort that I know of,” take too long to finish and are not accessible enough in the electronic age of free online resources. Comments from Rebecca W. Rimel, president of the Pew Charitable Trusts, and Daniel P. Jordan, president of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, even left the impression that the editors of these projects were somehow purposefully refusing to adopt technology that would allow them to make faster progress. The article gave little notice to the recent progress that the projects have made on electronic publication. Also, when citing projected finish dates, the article did not mention the number of volumes remaining to be published.