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    Virtually every step of preparing this edition has incurred a debt of gratitude. I will never be able to repay that owed to Charlene B. Bickford, Kenneth R. Bowling, and Helen E. Veit—my former colleagues at The George Washington University’s First Federal Congress Project. They adopted me as an apprentice documentary editor and sponsored my initiation as a full-fledged member in that unique and marvelous guild. Their knowledge, encouragement, camaraderie, and wit filled up the days of more than a quarter century of my life; everything I do in the next quarter century will bear the imprint of Ken, Helen, and Charlene’s love and friendship. I must add to that trio the name Michael Weeks. Nothing good that comes out of The George Washington University’s History Department does not bare the stamp of its beleaguered but unrelentingly resourceful and generous Administrative Officer. He took care of us First Congress editors during our employ, and continues to take care of me by ensuring my access to the University’s scholarly resources as a Visiting Scholar.

    Among my former colleagues, I will always owe a special debt to Ken Bowling for fulfilling every possible definition of the word “mentor.” After a chance encounter at the National Portrait Gallery’s exhibit on the First Federal Congress in the great bicentennial year of 1989, Ken encouraged me to pursue my scholarly interest in the Early American Republic by helping to document its congressional history—and we were colleagues for the next twenty-six years. His nurturing gave me the confidence and skills I needed to produce this edition. He also spared me no little time and trouble by searching repositories when they came in the way of his professional and personal travels. (The New York Public Library, the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, and the Virginia State Library in Richmond come most immediately to mind, but there were others.) Lastly, he has been my most reliable and willing volunteer proof-reader.

    I was first drawn to George Thatcher’s letters while writing his brief biography for volume 14 of the First Federal Congress Project’s Documentary History of the First Federal Congress (DHFFC). Helping with the decades-long search, transcription, annotation, and indexing of Thatcher’s almost 800 letters—among the thousands to and from the other 94 members of the First Federal Congress (now published in volumes 15-22 of the DHFFC)—only whet my appetite for more. My first focused study of Thatcher’s correspondence beyond the parameters of the First Federal Congress (1789-91) was made possible by a Marc Friedlaender Fellowship at the Massachusetts Historical Society in May 2003. For an entire magical month I read, calendared, and in many cases transcribed the correspondence in the Society’s Thacher Family Papers that covered Thatcher’s time throughout the Confederation and Federal Congresses (1787-1801). Anyone who has done work in the Society’s Library and interacted with its amazing staff knows what a pleasure that privilege is. For administering and facilitating my Fellowship, I thank Conrad E. Wright (then head of the Society’s publications and research programs) and his assistants at the time, Jean Powers and Melissa Pino. I am grateful as well to Celeste Walker (then with the Adams Papers) for having welcomed me into the Society’s resident community of scholars. In the years since, I have continued to benefit by the attentive and friendly assistance of the Society’s entire library staff, but especially Sabina Beauchard. The Society’s new president, Cat Allgor, has been a constant friend and inspiration for many years. I am honored to be able to relay, through her, my profound gratitude to the institution as a whole.

    For help accessing and navigating my way through the many manuscript collections at the Maine Historical Society’s Brown Research Library, I extend my warmest possible thanks to Jamie Kingman Rice, Nicholas Noyes, Tiffany Link, William D. Barry, Dani Fazio, and Sofia Yalouris. I am especially appreciative for their facilitating my long-distance access to the valuable collection of Nathaniel Barrell documents (Collection 2304). Accessioned and processed only relatively recently (2007), its many treasures remain largely unknown outside this edition. Some of Barrell’s letters in the collection have long been available as ALSs at Boston Public Library, but his drafts and those Thatcher letters with which they are in dialogue are presented here in print for the first time.

    If George Thatcher could return to Biddeford, he would be proud of his hometown’s McArthur Library, where Librarian/Archivist Renée L. DesRoberts deserves special thanks for her generous and passionate stewardship of local history. Also in Maine, I availed myself of the cheerful assistance of Bowdoin College’s Kat Stefko, Sophia G. Mendoza, Majorie Hassen, and Michelle Henning. Continuing south, I enjoyed a brief but fruitful search for documents at the Old York Museum, whose collections are managed by Peggy Wishart and Patricia FitzGer ald. Thanks too, to Barbara Hall at Fryeburg Academy’s archives. And to Carolyn Parsons Roy, for generously sharing the Dyer Library and Saco Museum’s resources.

    Back in Massachusetts, Beth Prindle and especially Kimberly Reynolds provided friendly access to Boston Public Library’s Chamberlain Collection, the largest collection of incoming Thatcher correspondence. Irene V. Axelrod facilitated my search of Thatcher letters at Salem’s Peabody Essex Museum, and Timothy Sales did the same at the New England Historic Genealogical Society. Although their collections yielded nothing useful to this edition, I am grateful to two researchers and institutions in young George Thatcher’s backyard for confirming that was so: Lucy Loomis at the Sturgis Library in Barnstable, and Maureen Rukstalis, at the Historical Society of Old Yarmouth.

    In New York, I was assisted by Adrien Hilton of the Columbia University Libraries. Before leaving New York City, I need to acknowledge the exciting work being done to restore Federal Hall to its proper place in the public’s historical awareness. The Federal Hall National Memorial, site of Thatcher’s first four years as a member of the Confederation and Federal Congresses, is poised to rank among the great interpretive centers of America’s constitutional system of government, thanks to the devoted and unstinting efforts of Marie Salerno and Renee Barnes of the New York Harbor Conservancy. I have become their great fan over the years, and I am sure they are happy to see this edition finally in print.

    In New Jersey, I enjoyed Dr. James Amemasor’s most friendly assistance at the state Historical Society in Newark. In Pennsylvania, Tom Bresenham of the Friends of the Joseph Priestley House ensured my fascinating and productive research trip to Northumberland. I also want to thank Sandra Stelts of the Pennsylvania State University Libraries. I have always been able to count on Independence National Historical Park’s Coxey Toogood for information (especially about congressmen’s social lives), advice, and warm friendship whenever I found myself in Philadelphia. I am also grateful to her and her fellow Park staff and volunteers for helping to maintain public access and appreciation for the historic spaces Thatcher knew for most of his time as a congressman.

    In Washington, D.C., Jeff Flannery and his fellow staff at the Library of Congress displayed their usual expertise, promptitude, and good cheer in providing access to the Manuscript Division’s George Thatcher Papers, comprised of Henry Thacher’s transcriptions of almost three dozen letters from George to Sarah during the First and Second Congresses. It is unclear why, out of the many hundreds of originals he must have had access to, Henry made these particular transcriptions; perhaps he made others that are not located. But their existence, and his earnest but occasionally inaccurate efforts to annotate them, attest to his abiding interest in preserving his father’s epistolary legacy.

    An Annis Wallenberg Fellowship in early 2014 gave me access to the 1000+ tracts once owned by George Thatcher and now bound in the 161 volumes of Thacher’s Tracts at the University of Southern California’s Doheny Library, where they came by way of Saco’s York Institute (founded in 1866 and known today as the Saco Museum). My thanks go to Marje Schnetze-Coburn and Melinda Hayes for administering the Fellowship and providing an efficient and friendly workspace at the USC’s beautiful campus. All the marginalia found in Thacher’s Tracts cry out for a more comprehensive treatment similar to what Zoltan Haraszti did in his John Adams and the Prophets of Progress (Cambridge, Mass., 1952).

    For helping to procure copies of documents found during targeted searches, I wish to thank Cedric Robinson and Liz Miserendino in Boston, Elizabeth diGiacomantonio in New York, Doniel Wooden in Philadelphia, Richard W. McCulty in Columbus, Ohio, and Kristina Hon.

    For proof-reading, I thank Ken Bowling, Judith Hubener, Sam Holliday, Lynda Cooper, Steven Keijek, and Doniel Wooden.

    For providing hospitable and in many cases gloriously scenic venues, either for proofreading or during long-distance repository searches, I am most grateful to MJ and Ted Rayhart in West Virginia, Judith Hubener on Cape Cod, and Dick and Lynne Kohn in the North Carolina Piedmont and Wisconsin’s Northern Woods.

    I would be remiss if I did not express my gratitude to the U.S. Capitol Historical Society, my professional home for the past several years. The Society has provided material and emotional support for completing this edition, rightly regarding it as contributing to the Society’s mission “to educate the public on the history and heritage of the U.S. Capitol, its institutions, and the people who have served therein.” As part of its distinguished congressional history symposia series, the Society sponsored my first lecture and subsequent publication on George Thatcher (in 1997 and 2000, respectively). I wish to thank particularly former and current staff members Don Kennon, Lauren Borchard, Laura M. Stepp, and Steven Livengood for providing a lively environment for my ongoing study of congressional history.

    Thanks to the Colonial Society of Massachusetts, especially the members of its Publications Committee for recognizing the value of a documentary edition focused on George Thatcher, and to John Tyler, editor of publications, for steering it through the many hoops along the way to the bookshelf and for having the good taste to ask Paul Hoffmann to work on the book layout. Paul’s eye in designing the book, and his gracious patience in working through many last-minute corrections, have made The Insurgent Delegate as stylish and correct as I could possibly wish it to be.

    And finally, to Mary Jo Kline—the doyenne of documentary editors—for reading the manuscript and helping me hone the logic and clarity of my methodology.