Belknap, Jeremy bĕl´năp [key], 1744–98, American historian, b. Boston. A Congregational minister, he wrote history out of antiquarian interest, but showed great diligence and skill in research and considerable ability in writing. His History of New Hampshire (3 vol., 1784–92; repr., 2 vol., 1970) was a model of early local history. He was probably the first American to write (1792) a book about Christopher Columbus. He was a leader in the founding (1794) of the Massachusetts Historical Society, the first such organization in the United States.
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