Growing up in Revere, Massachusetts, I have been aware of Paul Revere almost from the beginning, but it was not until I worked at the Paul Revere House in the summer of 1976 that I was introduced to his life and the possibility of history as a career. When I returned to work at the Paul Revere House after college, I became more immersed in Revere's life, and in 1981 I wrote a monograph and helped design an exhibit on the history and folklore of Paul Revere's "Midnight Ride." I put Paul Revere aside for many years until 1989, when I proposed writing a dual biography of Revere and a Loyalist for my dissertation at Brown University. It was Gordon Wood who suggested a full-length biography of Paul Revere instead.
Financial support from the History Department and Graduate School at Brown University and a Society of the Cincinnati Fellowship from the Massachusetts Historical Society greatly assisted my research. The contributions of Gordon Wood, John Thomas, and Naomi Lamoreaux, who read this work in its dissertation stage at Brown, exemplified the phrase "constructive criticism." I thank them for that and for their unfailing encouragement. Irving Bartlett, whose contributions as mentor helped me receive an M.A. in American civilization from the University of Massachusetts, Boston, in 1985, offered his scholarly expertise on this manuscript as he has on countless other occasions.
Several individuals at libraries, repositories, and historic sites went way beyond the call of duty in helping me. From beginning to end of this project, Nina Zannieri, Patrick M. Lechey, and Edith J. Steblecki of the Paul Revere Memorial Association assisted me through their excellent published work on Revere, their abundant willingness to share their considerable expertise on all aspects of Revere's life, and their invitation to present my ideas at part of the Lowell Lecture