Every in-depth research project, digital or otherwise, begins with primary source information. The data for this project and its five visualizations comes from the New York Society Library’s borrowing ledgers, accessible through the library’s City Readers online archive. Though limited to the records of 42 of the first American Congressmen who frequented the library from 1789-1805, this data helps its viewers to understand some of the literature that could have influenced America’s founding. It has many trends (more than can be analyzed here, with these tools), yet the message of this primary source information is still tangible: these Founding Fathers of the United States of America did not come to their revolutionary ideas on their own, and had more in common than one might think.

Want to know more? Continue exploring the rest of the Data menu for some analysis of these primary source ledgers and their connections to the Founding Fathers!