Book Edition

The Editing and Publishing of the Jacob Leisler Papers Project

Editor: David William Voorhees, New York University

Advisory Board: Firth Haring Fabend, Jaap Jacobs, Willem Klooster, Antonia Kolb, Karen O. Kupperman


The overall objective of the Jacob Leisler Papers Project is to gather definitively the surviving sources on Leisler, widely dispersed on both sides of the Atlantic, and to make accessible these documents from a formative period in American history. An effective manner in which to accomplish this end is through the publication of the papers of Jacob Leisler in comprehensive digital and multi-volume selective annotated book editions. The Jacob Leisler Papers Project is working on the transcription and translation of these valuable materials.

The editors of the Jacob Leisler Papers Project proceed from the thesis that one can understand Jacob Leisler and his times only when he emerges as a typical representative of an Atlantic history and culture, whose description transcends the artificial constraints of “national” or “ethnic” boundaries. The overall objective is to make accessible a representative sample of documents that illustrate the concept of an Atlantic History and place Leisler firmly at the center of such an endeavor. The editors aim to reconstruct in these volumes, intended for a broad public, the Atlantic networks and their peculiar configurations surrounding “Leisler’s Rebellion.”

Volume 1

The Jacob Leisler Papers Project has selected about 700 pages of transcribed and translated documents from original Latin, German, French, Dutch, and English manuscripts held in the Project’s collection for publication as the first volume of Leisler Papers. These documents have been arranged in chronological order and annotated. The volume consists of front matter containing a preface, acknowledgments, table of contents, list of illustrations and maps, and introductory essay including editorial method and a list of abbreviations and short titles, and a Jacob Leisler chronology for the years 1640-1688.

The main body of the volume is broken down into the following chronological chapters: 1614-1660 (68 documents relating to the family and European background of Leisler), 1660-1664 (26 documents dealing with Leisler’s arrival in New Amsterdam and the New Netherland period), 1664-1674 (78 documents from the first English period of New York and the recapture of New York by the Dutch), 1675-1676 (48 documents dealing primarily with Domine Nicholas van Rensselaer’s suit against Leisler for slander), 1676-1681 (106 documents for the period of Leisler’s captivity by Algerian pirates and his efforts to recoup his losses), 1681-1686 (138 documents relating to Leisler’s trade, political career, and battle with his in-laws over the Loockermans’ estate), and 1686-1688 (51 documents relating to the period after Louis XIV’s revocation of the Edict of Nantes, including Leisler’s efforts to found a Huguenot colony at New Rochelle).

Each section opens with a brief explanatory essay placing the documents in historical context. The main body of documents is followed by appendices containing the will and estate papers of Leisler’s grandmother, Catherine Aubert (two documents), additional papers relating to Leisler’s wife’s first husband Pieter Cornelissen vander Veen’s debts (pertinent to understanding Leisler’s suits with his in-laws, which later had political repercussions), and additional papers relating to the 1677 “Turkish Captivity” of Leisler’s ship Susannah. A genealogical chart and a biographical directory of 187 individuals who appear most prominently in these pages conclude the volume. A comprehensive index will be generated once the volume is in page proofs. Permissions have been obtained from the appropriate archival sources for the publication of all documentary materials.