About the Institute

In 2009, the Thomas Paine National Historical Association (founded in 1884) chose Iona College to preserve and develop its rich collection of writings and other items by and about Thomas Paine. The Thomas Paine National Historical Association (TPNHA) Collection is, like the man himself, of both national and international significance. In the 1990s, a lack of resources at the TPNHA meant that for far too long, these inspiring archival materials, from first editions to coins depicting Paine's trial for treason, were neither properly stored and secured, nor broadly available for exhibition to scholars or the general public. Inspired by the bestowal of this collection, the Institute for Thomas Paine Studies was established to be the premier academic center for the preservation, study, and dissemination of Thomas Paine's life story, work, and global legacy through stewardship of related archival material and development of educational programming.

Disdained by many at the time of his death, Paine's ideas have recently enjoyed a renaissance among liberal and conservative thinkers alike. The establishment of this Institute creates an unprecedented academic affiliation for a long neglected national treasure of American history and thought.

In collaboration with the TPNHA, the Institute illuminates and studies Thomas Paine's life and legacy in two complementary ways:

First, through the TPNHA Collection, now housed in Ryan Library, Iona College both cares for and makes accessible one of the richest collections of materials by and about Thomas Paine.

Second, through publications, conferences, exhibitions, internships, fellowships, and grants, as well as undergraduate and graduate curricula, the Institute provides students and faculty at Iona, members of the communities where Thomas Paine lived and worked, and the rest of the world with an exceptional opportunity to study and learn about one of the intellectual founders of our nation.

It is our belief that such programming will cure a long-standing and unacceptable lack of academic affiliation for Paine.