THIS is the first of two volumes of Pynchon Papers that the Colonial Society of Massachusetts will issue as Numbers 60 and 61 of its Publications. This first one consists of 164 letters written by John Pynchon to a variety of correspondents in the last half of the seventeenth century. The second volume, to be published later, will contain selections from the seven account books kept by John Pynchon during the same period. Together, the two volumes will illuminate the history of the Connecticut Valley area in its earliest days, as seen through the eyes of one of its most important figures.

The project started over twenty years ago, when Miss Juliette Tomlinson, then Director of the Connecticut Valley Historical Museum, and her associate, Dr. Ruth McIntyre, began working on Pynchon material. They issued a microfilm edition of Volume iii (1664–1667) of the John Pynchon account books and began searching various repositories for Pynchon letters, discovering their richest finds in the Winthrop Papers at the Massachusetts Historical Society and in various collections in the Massachusetts State Archives. But they needed help in getting their material edited and published. Fortunately for all concerned, they were eventually able to persuade Carl Bridenbaugh, an Honorary Member of this Society and Professor of History Emeritus at Brown University, to undertake this work. Mr. Bridenbaugh then presented a publication proposal to the Council of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts, which enthusiastically approved it, and these two volumes are the result.

The Society could not have been more fortunate in its editor. One of the leading authorities on the colonial period, the author of more than twenty books in this field—Cities in the Wilderness and Cities in Revolt are perhaps the best known—Mr. Bridenbaugh brings to this task the mind of a true scholar, a lifetime of experience in historical study, and a genuine enthusiasm for his subject. The result of his work, together with that of Miss Tomlinson and Dr. McIntyre, cannot help but be distinguished.

And so the Colonial Society of Massachusetts presents these two volumes of Pynchon Papers, secure in the belief that they will make a signal contribution to an understanding of the history of western Massachusetts in the last half of the seventeenth century.

frederick s. allis, jr.

Editor of Publications

87 Mount Vernon Street

Boston, Massachusetts

September 1981