New Digital Archive Exploring 18th Century Pamphlet War Now Available

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New Digital Archive Exploring 18th Century Pamphlet War Now Available

Monday, August 29, 2016
In December 1763, a mob massacred nearly two dozen Christianized Indians in the Pennsylvania backcountry. The scale of the attack was enhanced only by its brutality: in their march from Conestoga Manor to Philadelphia, these so-called “Paxton boys,” torched Indian huts, threatened settlers, and scalped, dismembered, and mutilated the bodies of the Conestoga.While historians have examined the Paxton Boys’ riots, the ensuing crisis of governance—waged in Pennsylvania’s first major pamphlet war—has largely escaped the study of literary scholars and critical theorists.
To increase accessibility and foster scholarship, Digital Paxton aggregates, annotates, and contextualize nearly 100 pamphlets, political cartoons, manuscripts, and broadsides related to the Paxton incident held at The Historical Society of Pennsylvania and The Library Company of Philadelphia​. The new digital archive enables readers to access scanned images of all materials, with full-text transcriptions added as they are identified and digitized by project staff. Lesson plans and other resources for educators are also available. 
Digital Paxton is made possible through the support of institutional collaborators at the Library Company of Philadelphia, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, and the Alliance for Networking Visual Culture:
  • Samantha Miller, Digital Services Imaging Technician
  • GVGK Tang, HSP Intern
  • Page Talbott, President and CEO
  • Heather Willever-Farr, Digital Services Manager
  • Bethany C. Yost, Manager of Annual Giving and Special Events
  • Concetta Barbera, Digital Outreach Librarian & Curatorial Assistant
  • James N. Green, Librarian
  • Hunter A. Johnson, LCP Intern
  • Nicole Joniec, Digital Collections Librarian and Print Department Assistant
  • Nicole H. Scalessa, Information Technology Manager and Digital Humanities Coordinator
  • Craig Dietrich, Information Design Director, Vectors and ANVC
  • Curtis Fletcher, Project Manager, ANVC
  • Erik Loyer, Co-PI, Creative Director, Vectors and ANVC
  • Tara McPherson, Lead PI, ANVC

About the Digital Paxton 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 SlateInside Higher Ed, and PC Magazine, for which he writes a biweekly column, “The Autodidact,” on educational technology.

About The Historical Society of Pennsylvania

The Historical Society of Pennsylvania (HSP) is a provider of education and information for the people of Philadelphia and beyond. With over 21 million documents – including manuscripts, graphics, and ephemera – HSP serves more than 4,000 on-site researchers annually and millions more around the globe who use its resources online. HSP offers extensive online resources including digital collections, curricular materials, and hosts educator workshops, public programs and lectures throughout the year. HSP is also a chief center for the documentation and study of ethnic communities and immigrant experiences in the 20th-century, and one of the largest family history libraries in the nation. For more information, visit

About The Library Company of Philadelphia

Founded in 1731 by Benjamin Franklin, The Library Company of Philadelphia is an independent research library specializing in American history and culture from the 17th through the 19th centuries. The Library Company is America's oldest cultural institution and served as the Library of Congress from the Revolutionary War to 1800. It was the largest public library in America until the Civil War and includes the extensive personal libraries of such prominent early American bibliophiles as James Logan. Open to the public free of charge, the Library Company houses an extensive collection of rare books, manuscripts, broadsides, ephemera, prints, photographs, and works of art, and one of the world’s largest holdings of early American imprints. Particular strengths of the collection include economic history, women’s history, African American history, history of medicine, history of philanthropy, and visual culture. The Library Company promotes access to these collections through fellowships, exhibitions, programs, and online resources. For more information, visit

The Alliance for Networking Visual Culture

The Alliance for Networking Visual Culture seeks to enrich the intellectual potential of our fields to inform understandings of an expanding array of visual practices as they are reshaped within digital culture, while also creating scholarly contexts for the use of digital media in film, media and visual studies. By working with humanities centers, scholarly societies, and key library, archive, and university press partners, we are investigating and developing sustainable platforms for publishing interactive and rich media scholarship. For more information, visit