Johnson of the Mohawks: A Biography of Sir William Johnson, Irish Immigrant, Mohawk War Chief, American Soldier, Empire Builder

Johnson of the Mohawks: A Biography of Sir William Johnson, Irish Immigrant, Mohawk War Chief, American Soldier, Empire Builder

Johnson of the Mohawks: A Biography of Sir William Johnson, Irish Immigrant, Mohawk War Chief, American Soldier, Empire Builder

Johnson of the Mohawks: A Biography of Sir William Johnson, Irish Immigrant, Mohawk War Chief, American Soldier, Empire Builder

Excerpt

Among publishers of biographies it has become the fashion to tell the public how many years their devoted authors spent in writing and preparing their works, a practice which is justified by the number of hastily rewritten narratives of great lives which have been thrust out as good stories with little pretense to original research or close study. It is my privilege to record the fact that this volume represents the fruits of some twenty- five years of work on Johnson manuscripts by a devoted servant of their custodian, the State of New York.

Dr. Richard E. Day began his work in colonial history shortly after joining the historical staff of the State in 1899. In 1902 he undertook the compilation of the important Calendar of the Johnson manuscripts, published in 1909. Fate brought to this publication a unique and vital service, since it preserved the essentials and sequence of the Johnson correspondence after the destructive fire in the State Capitol, in 1911, had destroyed or reduced to mere fragments one-third of the large collection of manuscripts. Dr. Day's digest of the vanished papers, in the Calendar, supplied the links between those preserved from the flames. There remained the delicate and immensely exacting task of restoring as far as possible the partially burned documents, supplying the missing words and phrases where such were indicated by the decipherable text, and preparing the whole collection for publication in a manner which would reveal precisely the steps taken in reconstruction, in order that no scholar would ever be misled at any point by these necessary labours.

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