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Picture of Georgian volumes in the Royal Archives

Transforming access, knowledge and understanding

Omohundro Institute and William and Mary College


The Omohundro Institute of Early American History & Culture (OI) and William & Mary are the primary US partners for the Georgian Papers Programme (GPP), a collaboration between Royal Collection Trust and King’s College London to create an online archive and library of approximately 350,000 digitised items from the Royal Archives, 85 percent of which have not been previously published. In addition to the digitisation of these papers, the project will include fellowships, workshops and conferences for academic interpretation, as well as public outreach events.

The opportunity to illuminate aspects of Atlantic, North American and English history together through the wide variety of materials in the Georgian Papers is exceptional. The archival material has important potential to influence emerging scholarship on any number of topics, among them the Revolution itself, as well as war and diplomacy generally, Enlightenment science and literature, and economic and labor patterns, including slavery. One of the most exciting features of the GPP is that we will only fully know the extent of the materials and their contribution to our understanding of this period as the project develops.

The GPP is projected to complete three overlapping stages by 2020. Over the course of the project, outcomes will include:

  • Access in two parallel stages: digitisation of all of the approximately 350,000 items contained within the archives at Windsor; and discovery, the creation of a rich cataloguing/descriptive metadata to accompany these newly digitised materials.

  • Interpretation: the creation of a suite of academic research opportunities and events to promote scholarly access to and analysis of the unique sources contained within the archive.

  • Dissemination: delivery of an annual public engagement program, in both the US and the UK, of public lectures, conferences and exhibitions to ensure wide public access to these unique global archives. Free online access to the Georgian Papers will engage new public and scholarly audiences with this very rich primary source material.

Omohundro Institute (OI)

George III by Benjamin West

Benjamin West, George III, 1779 ©

The OI’s month-long Georgian Papers fellowships support research on transatlantic and early American topics. Fellows explore the collections of the Royal Archives at Windsor Castle for their own research, while offering invaluable information for the team of archivists and librarians working on archival organisation and cataloguing. The OI will sponsor up to eight OI-GPP fellows annually throughout the duration of the project with initial support from OI's Lapidus Initiative. In addition to the fellowships, the OI, in collaboration with its UK partners, will play a lead role in organising workshops and conferences in both countries. Workshops will draw together all of the scholars who have worked in the Royal Archives under the auspices of the GPP fellowships. These will take place annually at Windsor. In addition to these fellowships and workshops, conferences will allow for scholarly exchange on subjects of historical significance related to the GPP; the GPP provides an opportunity both for fresh research from the materials themselves but also for renewed attention to the period.

William & Mary

The GPP provides a unique opportunity for librarians, archivists, faculty staff and students from William & Mary to work on an international digital project. Together they will set standards for cataloguing and digitisation, contributing to the ever-evolving role of libraries in the digital age, while also providing research opportunities for faculty and students through the academic interpretation of GPP material.

William & Mary Libraries are participating in the GPP to process, digitise and make materials from the Georgian period discoverable and accessible online for scholars worldwide. While digitisation will take place at Windsor Castle, librarians, archivists and student assistants from William & Mary Libraries will work to transcribe materials and enhance descriptive metadata. The scanned documents will virtually traverse the Atlantic Ocean to be processed in the digital lab at Swem Library, William & Mary’s main campus library.

It is only through the exploration, digitisation and scholarship of the collection that we will fully learn the extent of the materials and their contribution to our understanding of North American and English history. Metadata facilitates this discovery by making it easier to find, retrieve, use and manage resources.

About the Omohundro Institute (OI)

America is Lost George III Essay

'America is Lost!' from the essay collection of George III, 1783 Royal Archives/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017

The Omohundro Institute of Early American History & Culture supports scholars and scholarship focused on the expansive field of early American history.  The OI has produced a deep bench of award-winning scholarly monographs, published the leading journal in the field, the William and Mary Quarterly, and sponsored events including conferences designed to bring together scholars for robust exchange. The OI also offers a range of fellowship programs and a rigorous training program for editorial apprentices. The OI’s rich history can be explored through its archive of publications, programs, and fellowship recipients. 

Housed on the campus of its primary sponsor William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, the Institute of Early American History & Culture is an independent research organization established in 1943. The name of benefactors Mr. and Mrs. Malvern H. Omohundro, Jr., was added in 1996 in recognition of their generous support of the OI.

About William & Mary

William & Mary is a public university located in Williamsburg, Virginia. Founded by Royal Charter in 1693, it is the second oldest institution of higher learning in the country. William & Mary has a long history of liberal arts education and a growing research and science curriculum that demonstrates a strong commitment to undergraduate research. The school has a student body of approximately 8,500 students with a 12-to-1 student-faculty ratio.

U.S. News and World Report ranks the university sixth among all public universities in the country. Known as 'the alma mater of the nation', William & Mary has educated three American presidents: Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe and John Tyler — with George Washington serving as its first American chancellor.