The Papers of Sir William Johnson

TitleThe Papers of Sir William Johnson
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication1921
AuthorsSullivan, James, and William Johnson
Corporate AuthorsUniversity of the State of New York, Division of Archives and History
Number of Pages864
PublisherUniversity of the State of New York
CityAlbany, United States

The Sir William Johnson manuscripts in the New York State Library cover a period from 1738 to 1 808. From 1738 to 1745 the papers are few in number. This is also true of those from 1774 to 1808. As Sir William died in 1774 the few papers which we have from that year to 1808 relate to matters with which his relatives were connected. The importance of this collection for the history of the period which it covers can scarcely be overestimated. Johnson in his official capacity as Indian agent or as a military officer, and in the conduct of his private affairs, corresponded with people in all walks of life both in this country and abroad. His papers, consisting of letters sent and received, bills, accounts and other classes too numerous to specify, form an invaluable source of information, not only for the political and military, but also for the social, industrial and agricultural history of the times. The late Hugh Hastings while Historian of the State of New York intended to publish in one volume a few of the most important of these papers, but as the work progressed, more and more selections were added, so that at the time of his retirement from office in 1907, a large part of the manuscripts dated between 1738 and 1762 had been set up in print. Only a comparatively few between 1 760 and 1 762 had been included. Those subsequent to 1 762 had not been touched. When Mr Hastings's successor, Mr Paltsits, took office in 1907, he determined, because of certain errata in the proofs, to postpone the publication of these papers. In 1911 the fire in the State Capitol, where the manuscripts were stored, rendered so many of them illegible that it was fortunate that the printer's proof for many of them was in existence.

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