To glean this history, we have formed an ongoing partnership with the preeminent scholars of the First Federal Congress Project at George Washington University. Since 1972, this indefatigable team has combed authentic evidence, from revered documents and lively diaries to firsthand newspaper reports and private letters, illuminating the novice legislature’s history and revealing its most prolific first days in New York City.
The establishment of American government unfolds in their project’s monumental 22-volume Documentary History of the First Federal Congress of the United States of America, 1789 – 1791. Their opus is edited by Charlene Bickford, Kenneth Bowling, William diGiacomantonio, and Helen E. Viet, and published by John Hopkins University Press.
We have also enlisted other scholars, historians, and writers with a range of expertise to help our visitors to experience and evoke the fervor and passion, the feats, and frustrations of what happened here.
Our scholarly team, which have convened over the past five years in workshops, have developed the overarching conceptual framework for Federal Hall. They characterize the founding generation as innovators, inventors, and compromisers and, so far, forty-nine stories, including several of the primary narratives highlighted here, are distinguished by them. Their fundamental research and final scholarship has been the grist for the site’s future programming, installations, and stands as Federal Hall’s authoritative thrust for content. An expanded Federal Hall Scholars, Writers and Artists Advisory Committee is in formation.