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Horn Papers

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Surnames/tags: Horn native_american
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The Horn Papers "were a genealogical hoax consisting of forged historical records pertaining to the northeastern United States for the period from 1765 to 1795. They were published by William Franklin Horn (1870-1956) of Topeka, Kansas between 1933 and 1936, and presented as a transcription of documents of his great-great-great grandfather, Jacob Horn (died 1778), and other members of the Horn family... In 1945 the papers were published as a three-volume collection entitled The Horn Papers: Early Western Movement on the Monongahela and Upper Ohio, 1765–1795... [1]

"Criticism from historical scholars prompted the Institute of Early American History & Culture External, an independent research organization sponsored by the College of William & Mary, to launch an investigation. The Archivist of the United States, Solon Justus Buck, chaired a committee of eleven experts who engaged in a thorough examination. Scientific dating and evaluation was applied to items of metal, glass, ink, and paper in Horn's collection. Intense analysis of history and language enabled the identification and assessment of inconsistencies, conflicts, and anachronisms in Horn's text."[2]

The committee's report, published in ':The William and Mary Quarterly," concluded that the first two volumes were substantially hoaxes.[3]

Digital copies of this work may be found at HathiTrust and (Volume I) ArchiveOrg .

For a current listing of WikiTree Profiles impacted by the Horn Papers hoax, see Category:Horn_Papers_Fraud. Please add any additional affected profiles to the Category "Horn_Papers_Fraud" and refer to the individual profiles for additional details.


  1. Horn Papers (Wikipedia)
  2. Library of Congress, "Horn Papers: Forged Local Papers," available at https://guides.loc.gov/horn-papers (last accessed 19 Feb 2023)
  3. Middleton, Arthur Pierce, and Douglass Adair. “The Mystery of the Horn Papers.” The William and Mary Quarterly, vol. 4, no. 4, 1947, pp. 409–445. JSTOR, Mystery. Accessed 26 Feb. 2021.

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Categories: Horn Papers Fraud