Thomas Paine -- a descriptive bibliography.

This page is a work in progress and will be added to and edited on an ongoing basis. Suggestions and additions encouraged and welcomed:


Aldridge, Alfred Owen. Man of Reason: The Life of Thomas Paine. Philadelphia: J. Lippincott Company, 1959. Aldridge's work on Paine is unexcelled.

Aldridge, Alfred Owen. Thomas Paine’s American Ideology. Newark, New Jersey: University         of Delaware Press, 1984.  Aldridge's extended his study of Paine with this examination of Paine's ideology and philosophy.

Claeys, Gregory. Thomas Paine: Political and Social Thought. Boston: Unwin Hyman, 1989. Just what the title states and perhaps the best extant examination of Paine's social and political thought.

Conway, Moncure Daniel. Life and Works of Thomas Paine. Two volumes. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1894. Conway's 1894 biography is foundational for all subsequent biographical studies and still reads well despite its hagiographic tone. My work claims that Conway's work was based on Gilbert Vale's earlier pioneering biography (see below).
Foner, Eric. Tom Paine and Revolutionary America. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Foner places Paine within his context in the Revolution and in the artisan society of Philadelphia. Another five-star work.

Foner, Phillip, ed. The Complete Writings of Thomas Paine. 2 volumes. New York: The Citadel Press, 1945. Despite some problems still much the best and best organized collection of Paine's writings. Among it's problems, Foner included "An Occasional Letter on the Female Sex," a work that Paine did not write and "African Slavery in America" for which there is no proof of Paine's authorship, though his authorship is broadly accepted.

Kaye, Harvey J. Thomas Paine and the Promise of America. New York: Hill and Wang, 2005. Kaye's work includes a brief but exceptionally accurate biography and recounts Paine's influence on democratic reform with emphasis on the late 19th Century to the present. The best modern work on Thomas Paine and his influence on American democratic reform.

Lause, Mark. “Unwashed Infidelity: Thomas Paine and Early New York City Labor History.” Labor History 27: 3 (Summer, 1986), p. 385, 25 pp. One of the best historical essays on it's subject, Prof. Lause recounts Paine's influence on the development of early New York City labor reform. A fascinating read.

Vale, G. (Gilbert). Life of Thomas Paine. Author of “Common Sense,” “Rights of  Man,” Age of Reason,” etc., etc., with Critical and Explanatory Observations on His Writings. New York: G. Vale, 1839. Vale's biography of Paine supplied a great part of the foundation for Conway and virtually the entire case for rejection of the tales Paine's supposed outsize drinking. Vale said that he accepted the story of Paine's drunkenness when he started his biography, but the testimony of people who actually knew  Paine changed his views. That evidence is presented in Vale's bio. This is an essential and rather pleasant read. Howe, 499 says circa 1839; Brown and Stein, 29 have 1841; Post, 128 also has 1841; Sabin, vol. 26, 210 leaves the question open. The confusion is due to Vale’s early editions having no date printed. Howe is probably correct. 1839 appears to be more likely since Vale announces in the Beacon, October 27, 1838 that the manuscript was complete and a subscription for the first edition under way. Later announcements in Beacon circa 1841 appear to be for the later edition of that date.

Young, Alfred E. "The Celebration and Damnation of Thomas Paine," in Liberty Tree: Ordinary People and the American Revolution, ed. Alfred E. Young. New York: New York University Press, 2006. 

Liberty Tree is one of the best scholarly collections of essays on the radicalism of the American Revolution, bar none. And the late Alfred Young's contribution is one of its finest.


Remsburg, John E. Thomas Paine: The Apostle of Religious and Political Liberty. Boston: J.P. Mendum, 1880.

Rickman, Thomas Clio. The Life of Thomas Paine, Author of Common Sense, Rights of Man, Age of Reason, Letter to the Addressers, etc., etc. New York: Peter Eckler, 1892. 

Davidson, Edward H. and William J. Scheick. Paine, Scripture, and Authority: The Age of Reason as Religious and Political Idea. Bethlehem, Pennsylvania: Lehigh University Press, 1994.

Dyck, Ian, ed. Citizen of the World: Essays on Thomas Paine. London: Christopher Helm, 1987. 

Maccoby, S. English Radicalism 1786-1832: From Paine to Cobbett. London: George Allen and Unwin, Ltd., 1955.

Larkin, Edward. Thomas Paine and the Literature of Revolution. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005. 

Secord, Morgan H., Herbert B. Nichols, and Richard Webber. Thomas Paine Cottage and Grounds: New Rochelle, New York. New Rochelle: The Huguenot and Historical Association of New Rochelle, New York, 1931. 

An Old Lamplighter [Jabez Hunns]. Thomas Paine’s Bones and Their Owners. Norwich, England: Edward Burgess and Sons, Ltd., Printers, 1908. 

Author of “The Religion of Science” [Blanchard, Calvin]. The Life of Thomas Paine; Mover of the “Declaration of Independence;” Secretary of Foreign Affairs under the First American Congress; Member of the National Convention of France; Author of “Common Sense,” “The       Crisis,” “Rights of Man,” ac., ac.: The Man, Whose Motto was “The World is My Country; To Do Good, my Religion.” Embracing Practical Considerations on Human Rights; Demonstrating that Man Tends Irrepressibly to Actual Freedom; and showing a Liberty-Aim Connection     in the action of the World’s Great Author-Heroes, -- Rousseau, Paine, and Comte. New York: Calvin Blanchard, 1860. 

Cheetham, James. The Life of Thomas Paine. New York: Southwick and Pelsue, 1809. 

Sherwin, W. T. Memoirs of the Life of Thomas Paine with Observations on his Writings, Critical and Explanatory. London: R. Carlile, 1819. 

Williamson, Audrey. Thomas Paine: His Life, Work, and Times. New York: St. Martin’s Press, Inc., 1973. 

Dyck, Ian. “Debts and Liabilities: William Cobbett and Thomas Paine.” ed. by Ian Dyck in Citizen of the World. London: Christopher Helm, 1987. 

Ingersoll, Robert G.. “Vindication of Thomas Paine.” C. P. Farrel, ed., The Works of Robert G. Ingersoll, vol. 5, New York: Dresden Publishing Co.,  1908). 

Wiener, Joel H. “Collaborators of a Sort: Thomas Paine and Richard Carlile.”  ed. by Ian Dyck in Citizen of the World. London: Christopher Helm,  1987. 

Wilson, David A. Paine and Cobbett: The Translatlantic Connection. New York: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1988. 

Certificate of Incorporation of the Thomas Paine National Historical  Association. Dated September 11, 1906. Original in the vault of the Thomas Paine National Historical Association, New Rochelle, New York. 

Elliott, James B., ed. Rededication of the Paine Monument and Assignment of  its Custody to the City of New Rochelle. Philadelphia: Paine Memorial  Association, 1909.

Burgess, Hazel ed. Thomas Paine: A Collection of Unknown Writings. Palgrave Macmillan, 2010. Not recommended. Burgess's claims are almost entirely unfounded and the book stands as a source of confusion for the untrained reader and shocked amazement to the trained Paine scholar.  A complete review is at


Conway, Moncure Daniel. “Where Are Paine’s Bones? Strange Adventures of the Freethinker’s Remains.” The Truth Seeker (June 14, 1902 and June 21, 1902). 

Fruchtman, Jack Jr., “The Revolutionary Millennialism of Thomas Paine” in Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture, Vol. 13, ed. O. M. Brack, Jr.  Madison, Wisconsin: The University of Wisconsin Press, 1984. 

Ingersoll, Robert G.. “Vindication of Thomas Paine.” C. P. Farrel, ed., The Works of Robert G. Ingersoll, vol. 5, New York: Dresden Publishing Co., 1908)

© Kenneth W. Burchell 2010, All Rights Reserved