The Papers of Patrick Henry Digital Edition (Updated)

PHenry-Papers-logo-idea-1024x1024Documents Compass is pleased to announce The Papers of Patrick Henry Digital Edition documentary editing project. Patrick Henry (1736-1799) was one of the American colonies’ most important figures in the run-up to the American Revolution. Elected to multiple terms as Virginia’s governor, Henry remained a popular figure throughout his life. He is best remembered for his unsurpassed oratory and speeches such as his famous “Give me liberty, or give me death” speech in 1775. Historians such as Jon Kukla and Kevin Hayes have recently begun to reevaluate Henry’s education, motivations, and legacy, making this the perfect moment to start the first ever scholarly edition dedicated to preserving his letters, speeches, and financial and personal records.

With help from leading historians of Early America, Henry biographers, the Corcoran Department of History at the University of Virginia, and the Patrick Henry National Memorial Foundation at Red Hill, we have already begun to collect many of Henry’s letters and have submitted a grant proposal to help fund this multi-year project dedicated to one of Virginia’s most important, and most overlooked, Founding Fathers.

Slated to begin in earnest in the Fall 2016, we hope to be able to complete our project by the end of 2019. For more information about our goals, staff, and advisory board, please see the attached pdf file below.

About the Patrick Henry Digital Edition (.pdf)

If you are an institution or individual who possesses or knows of hard to find or little used collections of Henry’s correspondence, please email editor Sue Perdue directly at

Update, December 10, 2015

Our partnership with Red Hill has already provided crucial support in the form of a $48,000 grant from the Jessie Ball duPont Fund. It has allowed us to develop the larger site which will house the papers project, the Patrick Henry Digital Library. This site will not only provide free access to Henry’s writings that part of the, but it will also allow users to explore his personal library, examine his personal belongings held at Red Hill, and learn more about Henry’s life from important publications such as William Wirt Henry’s three volume biography of his grandfather. Powered by a versatile and easily navigable platform known as Islandora, users will be able to do powerful faceted searches for information about Henry, his career, family, and contemporaries.

Below is a sneak peak at the development site that illustrates some of the collections users will find on the site when the digital library launches the early summer of 2016.