The Thomas Paine National Historical Association, founded January 29, 1884 in New York City, is among the oldest historical associations in the United States. Our mission, to educate the world about the life, times and works of Thomas Paine, is designed to ensure Paine's rightful place in history as the preeminent founder of the United States of America. He was, in fact, the first person to coin this phrase. In the course of his lifetime, Paine was an outstanding political and social influence upon the entire world.
Dr. Moncure Conway was elected the Association's first president. A noted writer, abolitionist, and confidant to Abraham Lincoln, Conway is credited with writing the first comprehensive biography of Paine in 1892. In 1925, under the leadership of President William van der Weyde and Vice-President Thomas Alva Edison, the Association undertook the initiative to build a museum to house the priceless documents and artifacts of Paine's life. Since then, the Thomas Paine National Historical Association has been located in New Rochelle, New York on the site of Thomas Paine's farm and shared by the Museum, Thomas Paine Cottage, and Thomas Paine Monument. In addition to the acquisition, preservation, and conservation of documents and artifacts relating to Thomas Paine, the Association offers educational programs, public speakers, presentations, and special events that illuminate Paine's political and social philosophy and demonstrate its relevance to the issues of the day.