FELCONE, JOSEPH J. Printed New Jerseyana, 1683–1783, in the Colonial Office Records (CO 5) of the National Archives of the United Kingdom. Princeton: Joseph J. Felcone Inc., 2020. 81 p. Front. Wrappers.
The National Archives of the United Kingdom (formerly known as the Public Record Office) contains one of the three largest and most important collections of records of the government of New Jersey during the colonial period. Its holdings significantly augment the printed government documents in the New Jersey State Library and the manuscript documents in the New Jersey State Archives. Any competent scholar of colonial New Jersey must be familiar with the records at Kew as well as the records at Trenton.
The majority of records at Kew that document England’s administration of its North American colonies are found in the Colonial Office records, and specifically in the Colonial Office 5, or “CO 5,” series record group, which encompasses the Board of Trade papers. Housed in 1,450 large volumes, the CO 5 records cover all aspects of colonial America from the early seventeenth century through the closing years of the eighteenth century. Included within these largely manuscript records is a considerable body of printed material—colonial assembly minutes, session laws, legislative bills, proclamations, political tracts, newspapers, and ephemera of all kinds.
There has never been an adequate finding aid to the CO 5 records, despite their great importance to American history. American historian Charles M. Andrews’s Guide to the Materials for American History, to 1783, in the Public Record Office of Great Britain, 2 vols. (Washington: Carnegie Institution, 1912–14) was the standard guide for almost a hundred years, but for most researchers it offered only general guidance. For those seeking to identify printed materials, it was of little use. Time-consuming, page-by-page searching of many hundreds of likely volumes was the only way to be certain that one’s search was complete. Joseph Felcone has done that searching for New Jerseyana. In the course of several research trips to the National Archives over the past decade and a half, he examined every printed New Jersey document in every relevant volume.
This book is a finding aid, designed to provide the user with a guide to the locations of all printed documents relating to New Jersey within the vast CO 5 records. It is not a bibliography. However, titles are fully transcribed (except in the case of broadsides, where lengthy titles are shortened), and references to entries in standard bibliographies and the ESTC are provided to lead the user to bibliographical detail and the locations of other copies. When a document is incomplete, the imperfection is noted within square brackets following the location.