Papers of the Founding Fathers go unpublished

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More than 200 years after they were written, huge portions of the papers of America's founding fathers are still decades away from being published, prompting a distinguished group of scholars and federal officials to pressure Congress to speed the process along.

Teams of experts have been laboring since Harry Truman was president in the late 1940s to compile and annotate the letters, correspondence and documents of George Washington, John Adams, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. About $58 million has been spent in the past 30 years alone.

Yet, according to a study by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, the Washington papers will not be finished until 2023, with 54 volumes published and 35 more to go. The Adams papers, 29 volumes shy of the planned 59-volume set, will not be done until 2050.

Only the papers of Alexander Hamilton have been finished, largely because scholars did not have as many papers to comb through. Hamilton died at age 49 after a duel with Aaron Burr.

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