The Magazine of Early American Datasets (MEAD)

Document Type


File Format



This dataset is a cleaned version of the Founders Online ( author/recipient metadata available as of June 2020, formatted as an edge file for network analysis. This metadata includes only letters with authors and recipients, and does not include metadata for documents in the Founders Online database with no author or no recipient, such as receipts or account books. Source/Target pairs for network analysis were created between each author and recipient. In the case of multiple authors or multiple recipients, were split into multiple records with only one author and one recipient each. For example, the letter "Sarah Read to Benjamin and Deborah Franklin, 10 April 1734," was split into two records: one with ‘author: Sarah Read’ and ‘recipient: Benjamin Franklin,’ and the other with author: ‘Sarah Read, recipient: Deborah Franklin.’ Links were not made between multiple authors or recipients of a letter. Names were standardized with as little change as possible: for example, the spellings "Jacquelin Ambler," "Jaqueline Ambler," and "Jacquelin (Jaquelin) Ambler" in the transcriptions were merged into simply "Jacquelin Ambler." Gender of individuals in the network was assigned by first names or historical fact, or if ambiguous for a pseudonym, group of people, or unidentifiable, was left marked NA. The dataset includes 163,671 edges between more than 17,000 individuals. Fields also include the original title of the letter, papers project within Founders Online, permalink to the letter transcription and year, month, and date of the letter.

Time Period: End Date of Data Collection


Time Period: Start Date of Data Coverage


Time Period: End Date of Data Coverage


Date of this Version



Founders Online, National Archives.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


This dataset was created as part of the research for my essay "By Conversation with a Lady: Women's Correspondence Networks in the Founders Online Database." The Age of Revolutions in the Digital Age, edited by Mark Boonshoft, Ben Wright, and Nora Slomnisky. Cornell University Press,2023. I have taken care to minimize mistakes and err on the side of caution in identifying individuals who appear in the dataset under multiple name spellings as the same individual, but I cannot guarantee it is free from human error. In assigning gender to individuals within the network, I have drawn on my own experience as a researcher and documentary evidence where available. The dataset is offered "as is," and researchers are encouraged to consult the original records in the event of uncertainty. If you have feedback, notice errors in the data, or have further questions, please contact me at


Article Location


Date Posted: 12 August 2022