Date of this Version
Documentary Editing, Volume 14, Number 2, June 1992
ISSN 2476-1796 (electronic); ISSN 2167-1451 (print)
The letter book along with his other papers and books remained in the possession of the Abercromby family for almost a century after his death. In the early 1870S London booksellers purchased the collection and from there items were sold and dispersed. A note in the letter book dates its presentation by the Virginia Daughters of the American Revolution to the State Library and Archives as 22 February 1919, Jon Kukla's foreword to the edition notes that while the manuscript has been available to scholars for seventy years, its usefulness has been limited because "its scrawled text [is] virtually indecipherable" (xix).
The Letter Book of James Abercromby, Colonial Agent: I75I-I773 is the collaborative effort of two scholars with extensive documentary editing experience. George H. Reese, former director of the Center for Textual and Editorial Studies in Humanistic Sources at the University of Virginia, has published numerous editions dealing with Virginia history ranging chronologically from John Pory's Proceedings of the General Assembly of Virginia, July 30-August 4, I6I9(Jamestown: Jamestown Foundation of the Commonwealth of Virginia, 1969) to Journals and Papers of the Virginia State Convention of I86I, 3 vols. (Richmond: Virginia State Library, 1966). He retired from the University of Virginia faculty in 1983. John C. Van Horne, currently director of the Library Company of Philadelphia, is an editor of the recently completed Papers of Benjamin Henry Latrobe, and includes among his publications The Correspondence of William Nelson as Acting Governor of Virginia, I770-I77I (Charlottesville: Published for the Virginia Historical Society by the University Press of Virginia, 1975) and Religious Philanthropy and Colonial Slavery: The American Correspondence of the Associates of Dr. Bray, I7I7-I777 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1985).