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British Association for American Studies


Archival Report from Sophie Heather Jones, BAAS/Journal of American Studies Travel Award recipient 2015


Archival Report from Sophie Heather Jones, BAAS/Journal of American Studies Travel Award recipient 2015

[vc_row margin_bottom=”15″][vc_column][dt_banner image_id=”9008″ min_height=”270″][/dt_banner][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][dt_quote]The resources at the Patricia D. Klingenstein Library of the New-York Historical Society (N-YHS) have shaped my project on the cultural origins of Loyalism in New York and enabled me to incorporate voices from both sides of the Atlantic, says Sophie Heather Jones, recipient of the 2015 BAAS and Journal of American Studies Travel Award.[/dt_quote][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]Provisionally titled From Anglicisation to Loyalism: New York, 1691-1783, my research considers the cultural origins of Loyalism in New York as a consequence of 1690s Anglicisation policies and the later Consumer Revolution, before analysing the activities of Loyalists during the War of Independence and considering their responses to its aftermath. New York played a unique role to that of its neighbouring colonies during the revolutionary conflict, acting as both British military headquarters and a safe-haven for Loyalist refugees; however, as my research title[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]suggests, New York’s curious relationship with Britain pre-dates this by almost a century. Adopting a broader chronological perspective and challenging the dominant teleological approach to the study of early America as the prelude to revolution, my research considers the influence of previously unconnected events in New York’s colonial past upon the formation of subsequent political opinions. Furthermore, my research analyses motivations for Loyalism and patterns of support amongst ethnic, racial and socio-economic divisions, including African-American and Native-American Loyalists, who remain somewhat neglected within the existing historiography.

Thanks to the generous support of the BAAS/Journal of American Studies Travel Award and the EAAS Transatlantic Travel Grant, I was fortunate enough to visit New York for a three week research visit in September 2015 to consult rare books and manuscripts held within the city’s archives.

Primarily, the majority of my time was spent at the Patricia D. Klingenstein Library of the New-York Historical Society (N-YHS). Founded in 1804, the N-YHS is New York City’s oldest museum and the manuscript collections held within the library’s archives are inherently (although not exclusively) New York-focused and provide a rich wealth of information concerning the city’s history. At the N-YHS, I was able to consult an array of materials, including the diaries of Loyalist soldiers, prisoners and exiles, letters and papers of prominent Loyalist families, and various account books, daybooks and inventories of New York’s merchants, tailors and other middling classes.

During the N-YHS’s scheduled closures, I took the opportunity to view the collections of the New York Public Library (NYPL). The rare books and manuscripts collection held at the NYPL’s iconic Stephen A. Schwarzman Building contains a range of materials complementary to those of the N-YHS. Significantly for my study, the NYPL contains a sizeable set of manuscripts concerning interactions between Native Americans and colonial authorities; in particular, efforts by the British to gain Native American support following the events of the French and Indian war. This information is particularly sparse in British archives, so these collections will provide a unique perspective to my research.

Without the support of BAAS and EAAS, this trip would not have been possible. Being able to spend an extended amount of time in New York has shaped the direction of my project and provided a truly transatlantic element, by enabling me to incorporate voices from both sides of the Atlantic. Furthermore, time spent exploring the city’s surviving colonial landmarks enabled me to contextualise my research in a way that I could never do from behind my desk at Liverpool. I was struck by the assistance and support of the staff at the N-YHS and NYPL, both in the planning stages of this trip and during its execution. With their guidance I was able to hit the ground running upon arriving at the archives and maximise my time most effectively to consult as many documents as possible.

As I enter the second year of my PhD, I am incorporating the findings of my archival visit into my ongoing research. I am indebted to BAAS and EAAS for making this possible, and look forward to sharing the results of this trip as the project progresses.

Sophie Heather Jones is a second Year PhD candidate in History at the University of Liverpool, School of Histories, Languages and Cultures. Sophie is a  recipient of the PhD Studentship, ‘Changing Cultures: The Impacts of Global Cultural Change’, granted by The University of Liverpool’s Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row margin_top=”15″][vc_column][ultimate_carousel slides_on_desk=”1″ slides_on_tabs=”1″ slides_on_mob=”1″][dt_teaser image_id=”9045″ lightbox=”true”]St. Paul’s Chapel, Broadway & Fulton Street – Originally opened in 1766 as an outreach of Trinity Church, St. Paul’s survived the British occupation of New York City, including the Great Fire of 1776 which destroyed many structures, including the first Trinity Church. More recently, despite its proximity to the World Trade Center buildings, St. Paul’s narrowly avoided destruction again during the events of September 11, 2001. The interior of the chapel contains both Washington’s personal pew and the Governor’s pew, located directly across from each other at opposite sides of the chapel. Author’s own image.[/dt_teaser][dt_teaser image_id=”9046″ lightbox=”true”]Fraunces Tavern, 54 Pearl Street – While Stephen DeLancey was known to have constructed a three-story brick house at this location in c.1719, the current building was opened as the ‘Queen’s Head Tavern’ by Samuel Fraunces in 1762, in honour of Queen Charlotte. New York’s branch of the Sons of Liberty used the tavern as a meeting place, while Washington made his final address to the troops in the tavern’s Long Room in December 1783. Today, the tavern operates as a restaurant and museum, with the Long Room restored as an eighteenth-century public dining room. Author’s own image.[/dt_teaser][dt_teaser image_id=”9047″ lightbox=”true”]Revolution! NYC & the War for Independence – A temporary exhibition by the N-YHS at Governor’s Island documenting New York’s role in the Revolution, including a reproduction of the 1776 second Loyalist petition to Britain known as the ‘Declaration of Dependence’, signed by 547 of the city’s loyal inhabitants. The location of the exhibition itself is significant; under colonial rule Governor’s Island was for the exclusive use of the Royal Governor, and was under British military occupation from 1776 to 1783. In the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries, in order to prevent another successful invasion by sea, military fortifications began on Governor’s Island with the construction of Fort Jay and Castle Williams. Governor’s Island continued to operate as an American military base until the mid-1960s. Author’s own image.[/dt_teaser][/ultimate_carousel][/vc_column][/vc_row]