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Having been given an exciting opportunity to project manage the cataloguing of the Carleton Papers (record series PRO 30/55), since September 2016 I have been supervising this volunteer-led project.  The private collection of (Ashley family) papers of Sir Guy Carleton, first Baron Dorchester, relate to British Army Headquarters for North America correspondence between 1748 and 1788, and are largely concerned with the American Revolutionary War.  Carleton was to succeed General William Howe and Sir Henry Clinton as the last Commander-in-Chief in North America.  These (‘Dorchester’) papers were originally collated by Maurice Morgan, secretary to Carleton; the collection itself was presented to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II by President Eisenhower in 1957, as a gift from the archives of Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia.

Managing a small team of dedicated volunteers, I have produced this blog post in partnership with Eileen Wicks who, as an early recruit, was my longest-serving volunteer.  The cataloguing of this under-used archival resource has been an excellent achievement by all the individuals concerned, with the release of a total of 107 pieces to our Discovery catalogue, some four months ahead of schedule.

Comprising 30,000 manuscript pages, the collection was rebound into the present volumes by the New York Public Library between 1934 and 1935.  Arranged in chronological order, each volume contains a run of papers representing the dispatches of the successive commanders-in-chief; the collection also includes correspondence with the Continental Congress in Philadelphia.  Many of these letters concern the American ‘Patriot’ forces, and are often sent by George Washington himself (see PRO 30/55/66/91 which relates to news of a general peace in April 1783, for example).


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