The project is publishing a multi-volume documentary edition of the papers of Francis Bernard, governor of colonial Massachusetts between 1760 and 1769. Edited by Colin Nicolson (University of Stirling), the Bernard Papers will provide five volumes of transcribed manuscripts for the study of colonial Massachusetts and the American Revolution, followed by a calendar volume of Gov. Bernard's entire collection.
The project aims to understand how and why imperial officials in the American Colonies struggled to implement British colonial policy in the face of an incipient revolutionary movement. It provides research materials for historians investigating transatlantic connections, political behavior, and ideology, and reveals the disintegration of British imperialism in Massachusetts before the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War in 1775.
Established in 2000, the
Bernard Papers is funded by the Colonial Society of Massachusetts. In 2011
the editor was awarded a Research Fellowship by the Arts and Humanities
Research Council (UK) to complete research for the project. The AHRC evaluation described the Bernard
Papers project as "an outstanding proposal meeting world-class
standards of scholarship, originality, quality and significance." The "Papers of Francis Bernard is a tremendously significant
collection, and once completed, a British scholar will have published
the single most important addition to the source materials not just for
the coming of the American Revolution in Massachusetts, but for
late-eighteenth-century Imperial historiography in general, to have
appeared in at least a generation."-Prof. Stephen Conway, University College,