BOSTON (CBS) — A letter from 1775 that’s been missing for 60 years has been returned to the state archives.
The letter from Joseph Warren to the revolutionary Committee of Safety describes the victory at Fort Ticonderoga.
It had been in the state archives until about 60 years ago when it was discovered it had gone missing. Last fall, archivists saw the letter listed in a Sotheby’s catalog of Revolutionary War-era items that were being liquidated from the Copley Press collection. The state negotiated the return of the letter.
Warren was the President of the Provincial Congress and wrote the letter on May 25, 1775. In it he writes that he learned of Col. Benedict Arnold’s and Ethan Allen’s capture of Fort Ticonderoga and other forts in the Lake Champlain area. This capture reduced the threat of British attack from Canada.
Three weeks after writing the letter, Warren joined the provincial army and was killed in the Battle of Bunker Hill.
“I am pleased to have this archival property back in the Commonwealth,” said Secretary of State William Galvin. “This letter is a contemporary account of a key struggle in the Revolution as it affected Massachusetts written by a Revolutionary War hero.”
Secretary of State Galvin tells WBZ NewsRadio 1030 producer Matt Ledin this letter was the 1775 version of “breaking news”
Galvin said the letter was stolen sometime in the 1950s from the archives, which did not have the level of security it does now. He said several documents had been stolen before security was increased.
In recent years, Galvin explained, his office has worked to trace some of the stolen items by making sure if they’re put up for auction they lay claim to them.
In this case, Galvin says the state paid $8,000 for the letter.