The Paul Revere Memorial Association is thrilled to announce that with generous support from key donors it has acquired three important 18th century documents: an April 1775 letter from Paul Revere to his wife Rachel; an April 1778 receipt written and signed by Paul Revere in his capacity as Lt. Colonial of the artillery; and a June 10, 1775 copy of the Pennsylvania Ledger containing an account of the first days of the Revolutionary War. These documents provide valuable insight into the past.
The letter Paul wrote to his wife Rachel in late April 1775 is one of only a few surviving family letters. It conveys the great affection between the couple and the challenges the family faced with Boston under siege and Paul unable to return home after his midnight ride. In addition, the original letter was long considered lost, until a descendant brought it to the Association’s attention. It was essentially hiding in plain sight amongst heirlooms inherited by the Reynolds branch of the Revere family, when Association staff noted its significance for the owners and encouraged them to have the document professionally conserved. The receipt from April 1778 relates to Revere’s tenure as Lt. Colonel in the Massachusetts Train of Artillery and his command of Castle Island in Boston Harbor. It is one of only few surviving documents that are both written and signed by Revere using his military rank.
Both documents were offered to the Association by the trustees of the Reynolds Family Trust, for $37,000, a remarkably reasonable price. The trustees are all descendants of Paul Revere and of John P. Reynolds, Jr., the great grandson of Revere who played a major role in the preservation of the Paul Revere House.
The trustees stated “we take particular pleasure in having [the documents] at long last available for study and display at the Paul Revere House.” The items were purchased with generous donations from Marge and Ben Edwards, Julia and Mark Casady and the One Step Forward Education Foundation, an anonymous donor via the Boston Foundation, the Shirley Shattuck Windsor Charitable Trust, and Carolyn Tolles.
The final acquisition is the gift of a significant 18th century newspaper by Ben L. Edwards and his parents Marge and Ben. The June 10, 1775 Pennsylvania Ledger, has particular meaning as it includes a first-hand account of the events of that transpired on April 18th and 19th 1775 and even mentions Revere’s important role.
This is an exciting time for the Association, which is completing a $4,000,000 capital campaign to fund a transformational expansion of the museum. Executive Director Nina Zannieri noted; “With final construction underway on our new Education and Visitor Center we will finally have the space to properly display our collections and be able to add key additional pieces like these to our holdings. The acquisition of these Revere documents and the gift of this rare newspaper serve as reminders that without wonderful historic places, objects, documents and stories, there would be few visitors and little reason to improve our facilities.”
THE REVERE HOUSE AT A GLANCE: On the Freedom Trail in Boston’s historic North End, the Revere House was home to patriot and silversmith Paul Revere from 1770 to 1800. Revere left from the house on April 18, 1775, to begin the mission that Henry Wadsworth Longfellow immortalized in the poem “Paul Revere’s Ride.” Built around 1680, the Revere House is the oldest building in downtown Boston. As visitors tour the house at their own pace, museum staff provide fascinating insight into the intriguing furnishings and personal artifacts on display. For more information about the Revere House, visit www.paulreverehouse.org.
MUSEUM HOURS: Through October 31, the Revere House is open daily 9:30–5:15. From November 1 through April 14, the house is open 9:30–4:15. Closed on Mondays, January–March. Closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day.