Sullivan Press began as an idea. While attending a Civil War reenactment in 1977, I was impressed with the paperwork that was given out to the participants. Since I was involved in Revolutionary War reenacting also, I thought it would be a good idea to try to create paperwork for Revolutionary War events. I knew that British forms were available, but no one was producing Continental forms. I was told by various individuals that the forms either didn’t exist or had been destroyed. The most popular story was that the forms had burned when the British burned Washington in 1814. But while researching our Rev War unit in the National Archives, I found some printed forms. I began showing them around, and got a similar reaction: “Wow. Are there any others?” And that started my research.
All of my books and forms are based on a simple principle: As an historical interpreter, I never wanted to rationalize or explain away differences between the items I carried and the original items from which they were copied. I wanted my items to be as close to originals as possible.
I make almost every item I sell (at last count, about 230 out of 238). Every envelope is hand cut, every form is cut to original size. Every book is hand bound. I do this because I want items to be right. When you buy a book here, you are buying a reproduction, not a reprint. When you purchase paperwork, you are getting forms that closely match originals in paper, text, size, and layout.
When you come here, be assured that everything I sell is made as closely to the original item as possible. I don’t conjecture, I don’t fill in gaps with my imagination. I own most of the originals on which my reproductions are based or at least a photocopy of one, and where possible show pictures of them next to my reproductions. Not many vendors are willing to do this. By presenting these images, I don’t ask you to take my word for it, I ask that you see for yourself. Some of the ongoing fun of this business is discovering and reproducing new forms, or finding new treasures. Certainly computer technology and the advent of the internet has made research and reproducing things much easier, but there are still many things to find.
I started Sullivan Press in September of 1989, After many years, it is very gratifying to walk through just about any reenactment camp area (and many museum displays), and see items that I have made among those things sitting out for public view.
-Bob Sullivan, founder and owner