Robert Treat Paine

Robert Treat Paine

Portrait of Robert Treat Paine, oil on canvas by Edward Savage and John Coles, Jr., 1821-1823 Robert Treat Paine (1731-1814), best remembered as a signer of the Declaration of Independence, was a prominent public figure in Massachusetts for over 30 years. Beginning in 1770, he stood as co-counsel for the Crown in the Boston Massacre Trials, and he served until 1804 on the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts. In this long career during a most important phase of Massachusetts and American history, Paine participated in numerous local and statewide committees. He served in the House of Representatives and on the governor's Council for Massachusetts, in the Provincial Congress, in the Continental Congress, as the attorney general of Massachusetts, and as a delegate to the state's constitutional convention.

Printed Edition

The Papers of Robert Treat Paine (vols. 1-5) is a selected edition of documents primarily from the Robert Treat Paine collection at the Massachusetts Historical Society. Covering his public and private lives, the published Papers draws together correspondence to and from Paine beginning with his days at Harvard. When complete, the five-volume edition will include all of his correspondence with family, friends, clients, and fellow lawyers. Selected pieces also provide examples of his allegorical writings, his sermons, and his Harvard undergraduate club writings.

Ordering & Availability

Volume 1 (1746-1756) and Volume 2 (1757-1774), edited by Stephen T. Riley and Edward W. Hanson, were published in 1992.  These volumes can be ordered from the Society's distributor, the University of Virginia Press.

Volumes 3, edited by Edward W. Hanson, was published in 2005.

Volumes 4 and 5, also edited by Edward W. Hanson, are forthcoming.


Robert Treat Paine Papers in the Archive

To read about the Society's manuscript collections, which encompass many of the Paine documents in the published edition, please visit the Collections web pages. The microfilm edition of the complete Robert Treat Paine Papers includes a full item listing of the contents of the Robert Treat Paine Papers at the Society and a name index.

Upcoming Events

postponed Environmental History Seminar

Harvest for War: Fruits, Nuts, Imperialism, and Gas Mask Manufacture in the United States During ...

21Feb 5:15PM 2017

This session has been POSTPONED to Tuesday, May 9, at 5:15 PM. Part of a larger book length study, this essay examines the use of seemingly exotic foodstuffs and ...

Teacher Workshop

Women in the Era of the American Revolution

22Feb 9:00AM 2017
Registration fee: $40 (free for students)

Study the revolution through the words and artifacts of the women who lived it. Women were vital consumers (and boycotters) of imported goods, and they functioned as ...

Brown Bag

Constructing American Belatedness: The Archives of American Artists in Late Nineteenth-Century Paris

22Feb 12:00PM 2017

Thousands of US artists traveled to Paris between 1865 and 1914, at various stages of their careers and for various lengths of time. This project culls archival materials ...

From our Blog

This Week @ MHS

The MHS is CLOSED on Monday, 20 February, for Presidents' Day.  Despite the holiday-shortened week, there is quite a bit of activity at the Society. Here's is what we have the calendar for the ...

Working with Google to Showcase MHS Content about U. S. Presidents

Selections from MHS’s two most important collections, the Adams Family Papers and the Coolidge Collection of Thomas Jefferson Manuscripts, are now part of the Google Arts & Culture website. ...

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