Digital Paxton: A Digital Archive and Critical Edition of the Paxton Pamphlet War

Creators

Institutional Partners
The Digital Paxton would not be possible without the inestimable support of collaborators at the Library Company of Philadelphia and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. At the Library Company of Philadelphia, special thanks are due to James N. Green (Librarian), Concetta Barbera (Digital Outreach Librarian & Curatorial Assistant), Nicole Joniec (Digital Collections Librarian and Print Department Assistant), Nicole H. Scalessa (Information Technology Manager and Digital Humanities Coordinator), and summer intern Hunter A. Johnson. Page Talbott (President and CEO), Bethany C. Yost (Manager of Annual Giving and Special Events), Heather Willever-Farr (Digital Services Manager), Samantha Miller (Digital Services Imaging Technician), and summer intern GVGK Tang each played an integral role in identifying resources, digitizing materials, and collecting metadata at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. When I first conceived this project, I lacked any formal funding, and Digital Paxton simply would not be a reality without the generosity and hard work of these individuals and institutions.

I also want to personally acknowledge Craig Dietrich (Information Design Director), Curtis Fletcher (Project Manager), Erik Loyer (Co-PI, Creative Director), and Tara McPherson (Lead PI) at the Alliance for Networking Visual Culture. In addition to creating the free, open-source platform upon which Digital Paxton is built (Scalar), the ANVC team has offered hands-on technical support throughout the planning and development process.

Contributing Archives
Digital Paxton is by design an unfinished and open-ended project. As students, educators, and researchers discover and use the project, I invite suggestions to improve the site as a digital archive, critical edition, and meeting space. To that end, I am honored to welcome our first contributing archive, the American Philosophical Society. I am grateful for the generosity of technical and library staff, particularly Patrick Spero (Librarian and Director), Scott Ziegler (Head of Technology), Abigail E. Shelton (Assistant to the Librarian), and Chelsea Reed (Digital Library Intern), who have digitized dozens of manuscript pages now publically available through Digital Paxton.

Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections has generously digitized 40 manuscripts from the Friendly Association Papers. I am indebted to both Peter Silver (Rutgers University), who helped me to identify relevant manuscripts, and Sarah Horowitz (Head and Curator), who collected and delivered all electronic files.

The Moravian Archives has also digitized several German-language manuscripts. Special thanks are due to Thomas J. McCullough (Assisant Archivist), for digitizing the letters, and to Scott Paul Gordon (Lehigh University), who supported the digitization effort.

Scholarly Contributors
Jack Brubaker is the author of Massacre of the Conestogas: On the Trail of the Paxton Boys in Lancaster County (The History Press, 2010), the first book to examine the massacre of 1763 and its aftermath in detail. Brubaker also has written Down the Susquehanna to the Chesapeake (Penn State Press, 2002) and a dozen other books and magazine articles. He is at work on a book about the reconciliation between North and South between the Civil and Spanish-American wars. Brubaker has worked as a journalist since 1970. He was a member of a team of Lancaster Newspapers (LNP) reporters that won national awards for stories investigating the shootings of 10 Amish girls at the Nickel Mines school house in Lancaster County in 2006. He retired as an investigative reporter for LNP in 2013. He continues to write a twice-weekly LNP column about the history and culture of Lancaster County. He lives with his wife, Christine Brubaker, a teacher and conservationist, in Lancaster County's Manor Township, not far from where the first Conestogas were massacred in December 1763.

Nicole Eustace is Professor of History at New York University, where she directs the Atlantic History Workshop. She writes and lectures on the history of the Atlantic world, with a particular emphasis on eighteenth-century British America. Her focus of analytic inquiry is the history of emotion. She is the author of two monographs: Passion Is the Gale: Emotion, Power, and the Coming of the American Revolution (Chapel Hill, 2008 / paper 2011) and 1812: War and the Passions of Patriotism (Philadelphia, 2012) and is the co-editor, with Fredrika J. Teute, of the essay collection Warring for America: Cultural Contests in the Era of 1812. Her articles and essays have appeared in numerous journals including The American Historical Review, The Journal of American History, The William and Mary Quarterly, and The Journal of Social History. In addition, her work has appeared in many edited collections including David Lemmings and Ann Brooks, ed.s, Emotions and Social Change: Historical and Sociological Perspectives (Routledge, 2014) and Susan Matt and Peter N. Stearns, ed.s, Doing Emotions History (Unive rsity of Illinois Press, 2014). She serves on the advisory boards of Early American Studies, the Early American Places Series of New York University Press, as well as on the H-NET listserv, H-Emotion and is currently serving in her second term as a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians.

Scott Paul Gordon is the Andrew W. Mellon Chair at Lehigh University, where he has been teaching since 1995. He has served as Director of Lehigh University Press (2006-2011) and as chair of the Department of English (2011-2016). Gordon’s first projects focused on seventeenth- and eighteenth-century British literature: The Power of the Passive Self in English Literature, 1640-1770 (Cambridge University Press, 2002) and The Practice of Quixotism: Postmodern Theory and Eighteenth-Century Women's Writing (Palgrave, 2006). His current research focuses on early America, in particular the Moravian experiment in Pennsylvania. One project brings into print for the first time the extensive correspondence of Mary Penry (1735-1804), who immigrated from Wales in 1744 and lived as a single sister in Moravian communities at Bethlehem and Lititz for nearly fifty years. Another focuses on religion, social ambition, and patriotism in colonial and revolutionary Pennsylvania by exploring the lives of “worldly Moravians.” Pieces of these projects have appeared in The William and Mary QuarterlyThe Pennsylvania Magazine of History and BiographyEarly American Studies, and The Journal of Moravian History. In 2010 the Jacobsburg Historical Society published Gordon’s study of the Delaware chief Gelelemend (1737-1811), titled Two William Henrys: Indian and White Brothers in Arms and Faith in Colonial and Revolutionary America.

Kevin Kenny is Professor of History at Boston College. His principal area of research and teaching is the history of migration and popular protest in the Atlantic world. His latest book, Peaceable Kingdom Lost: The Paxton Boys and the Destruction of William Penn's Holy Experiment (2009), explains how Pennsylvania's early religious tolerance and social harmony disintegrated during the eighteenth century, with disastrous consequences for the province's Indians. Covering the period from Pennsylvania's foundation in the 1680s to its dissolution during the American Revolution, the book traces the emergence of intensifying forms of colonialist expropriation, from the flawed utopian vision of the founder, through the rapacious avarice of his sons, the French and Indian War, and Pontiac's War, to the consummation of a harsh new order during the Revolution. At the heart of the story is the extermination of the last twenty Conestoga Indians by a group of frontier settlers known as the Paxton Boys.

Professor Kenny's earlier work concentrated on the history of Irish migrants in the Atlantic and British imperial worlds. His first book, Making Sense of the Molly Maguires (1998), examined how traditions of agrarian protest in nineteenth-century Ireland were translated into an American industrial setting. His second book, The American Irish: A History (2000), offered an interpretive survey of Irish migration to North America from 1700 to the present, including the Irish preconditions to mass emigration and questions of labor, social mobility, religion, race, gender, politics, and nationalism among the Irish in the United States. He is also the author of a short pictorial history, The Irish: Towards the U.S.A., published in Italy as Gli irlandesi che hanno fatto l'America (2006) and contributing editor of Ireland and the British Empire (Oxford University Press, 2004), a collection of historical essays that launched the Companion Series to the five-volume Oxford History of the British Empire.

He is currently researching various aspects of migration and popular protest in the Atlantic world and laying the groundwork for a long-term project investigating the meaning of immigration in American history.

James P. Myers, Jr. is emeritus professor of English at Gettysburg College, where he taught, among other subjects, courses in Shakespeare and Irish literature. For the past several decades or so, he has researched and published some twenty articles on colonial cartography and aspects of frontier life in Pennsylvania during the pre-Revolutionary and Revolutionary periods, the latest (Pennsylvania History 2011) an examination of Pennsylvania’s persecution of the Rev. Daniel Batwelle, Anglican missionary for York and Cumberland counties. In 2010, he published his fifth book, a biography, The Ordeal of Thomas Barton: Anglican Missionary in the Pennsylvania Backcountry, 1755-1780. Most recently, he has written several articles on the eighteenth-century Franco-American farmer, cartographer, writer and, possibly, spy, Michel-Guillaume St. Jean de Crèvecoeur (a.k.a John Hector St. John).

Judith Ridner is an Associate Professor of History at Mississippi State University, where she teaches early American history, immigration history, material culture, and oral and public history. To date, her research in early American history has focused primarily on the communities and peoples of the eighteenth-century Pennsylvania backcountry with particular emphasis on the Scots-Irish. She is the author of A Town In-Between: Carlisle, Pennsylvania and the Early Mid-Atlantic Interior (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010), winner of the Philip Klein Prize from the Pennsylvania Historical Association, and the forthcoming The Scots-Irish of Early Pennsylvania (to be published by Temple University Press for the Pennsylvania Historical Association in 2017). Her current research project, “Clothing the Babel,” is exploring how the material culture of ethnic identity in the eighteenth-century mid-Atlantic served as one model for the negotiation of pluralism in early America.

Ridner also has research interests in oral and digital history. During her previous academic appointment at Muhlenberg College (1998-2011), she helped to lead a community oral history project focused on postwar African American life and civil rights in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley. An article from that project appeared in Oral History Review in 2014. More recently, she has been working with a group of Mississippi State librarians and history graduate students on “A Shaky Truce: Starkville Civil Rights Struggles, 1960-1980,” an award-winning digital oral and public history website that examines the civil rights movement in the Mississippi town where we live with particular emphasis on the local fight for school desegregation.

About the Creator
Will Fenton is the Albert M. Greenfield Foundation Dissertation Fellow at the Library Company of Philadelphia, an MLA Proseminar Fellow, and a doctoral candidate at Fordham University where he specializes in early-American literature and the Digital Humanities. His dissertation, “Unpeaceable Kingdom: Fighting Quakers, Revolutionary Violence, and the Antebellum Novel,” examines the discrepancy between fictional representations of fighting Quakers and their historical practices of pacifism and political participation. 

Will has served as the Director of the Writing Center at Fordham University Lincoln Center, Editor of Eloquentia Perfecta, and a Teaching Fellow. He is the recipient of a Haverford Gest Fellowship, HASTAC Scholarship, as well as Fordham's Innovative Pedagogy Scholarship and Digital Start-Up Grant. His work has appeared in Slate, Inside Higher Ed, and PC Magazine, for which he writes a biweekly column, “The Autodidact,” on educational technology.

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This page references:

  1. Jack Brubaker
  2. LCP
  3. Scott Paul Gordon
  4. The Ordeal of Thomas Barton
  5. Judith Ridner
  6. Nicole Eustace
  7. Will Fenton
  8. Kevin Kenny