The National Archives have launched the Founders Online website, a free online site, brings together the papers of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison.

The Founders Online project emerged from hearings of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary held in February 2008, and is based on academic and scholarly initiatives spanning over 50 years.

Founders Online includes thousands of documents, replicating the contents of 242 volumes drawn from the published print editions. As each new print volume is completed, it will be added to this database of documents. In addition, all of the unpublished and in-process materials (about 55,000 documents) will be posted online over the next three years.

Researchers will be able to view transcribed, unpublished letters as they are being researched and annotated by the editors and staff.

Altogether, some 175,000 documents are projected to be on the Founders Online site.

Founders Online was created through a cooperative agreement between the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), the grant-making arm of the National Archives, and The University of Virginia (UVA) Press.

[Image courtesy: National Archives]