"To all the Friends of American Liberty": The 1775 Lexington Alarm Letter


Lexington Alarm Letter, 1775
Daniel Tyler, Jr. (1750-1832), copyist
Brooklyn, Connecticut
Museum Purchase, A95/011/1

This exhibition takes a close look at an original copy of the Lexington Alarm letter that is in the collection of the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library. This copy of the letter, written in the late morning of April 20, 1775, is one of several created by colonists to inform distant communities and colonies about the Battle of Lexington and the outbreak of war with England.

April 19, 1775
The original alarm letter was composed by Joseph Palmer just hours after the Battle of Lexington which took place around daybreak on April 19, 1775. Palmer, a member of the Committee of Safety in Watertown, Massachusetts, a town near Lexington, had his letter copied by recipients who were part of a network of Committees of Correspondence. By this method, the message was distributed far and wide. While the original alarm letter written by Palmer is thought to be lost, the Museum & Library has in its collection this copy of his famous warning, which was written the day after the Battle of Lexington by Daniel Tyler, Jr., of Connecticut.

With the letter's urgent news that war had broken out, this document brings today's viewers to the beginning of the American Revolution.