James Buchanan papers

This collection spans the entirety of Buchanan's legal, political, and diplomatic career, including his service as Pennsylvania assemblyman, U.S. congressman, minister to Russia, U.S. senator, secretary of state, envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary to Great Britain, and president o...

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Bibliographic Details
Main Author: Buchanan, James 1791-1868. (Creator)
Collection:James Buchanan Papers
Collection Number:0091
Format: Manuscript
Language:English
Subjects and Genres:
Online Access:Link to finding aid
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LEADER 13419ntc a2200913 u 4500
001 ead-0091
008 180927i17831895xx eng d
040 |e dacs 
041 0 |a eng 
099 |a 0091 
100 1 |a Buchanan, James  |d 1791-1868.  |e creator 
245 1 |a James Buchanan papers  |f 1783-1895, undated  |g 1815 - 1868 
300 |a 35.0 Linear feet  |f 74 boxes, 25 volumes 
351 |b This collection is arranged into seven series: Series I. Correspondence, 1783-1895, 22.3 linear feet Series II. Speeches, memoranda, notes, 1816-1862, 1.7 linear feet Series III. Drafts and manuscripts, approximately 1866-1883, 0.8 linear feet Series IV. Printed material, 1814-1892, 6.5 linear feet Series V. Business papers, 1828-1867, 0.6 linear feet Series VI. Legal papers, 1811-1832, 0.6 linear feet Series VII. Miscellaneous, 1819-1877, undated, 2.5 linear feet  
500 |a Processing Information: This collection was microfilmed in 1974 based on an earlier series arrangement. In 2010, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania revisited the intellectual arrangment of the collection. We primarily left the physical arrangement as is to protect the accuracy of the microfilm guide, but occasional correspondence and miscellaneous papers have been moved to correct chronological filing errors. 
506 |a This collection is open for research. 
520 |a This collection spans the entirety of Buchanan's legal, political, and diplomatic career, including his service as Pennsylvania assemblyman, U.S. congressman, minister to Russia, U.S. senator, secretary of state, envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary to Great Britain, and president of the United States. The bulk of the collection is correspondence, but the collection also contains speeches, notes, manuscript drafts, business papers, legal papers, pamphlets, books, newspaper clippings, broadsides and scrapbooks. The correspondence in Series I consists primarily of incoming correspondence, with a smaller amount of outgoing and third-party correspondence and indices for each. Series II consists of Buchanan's speeches, memoranda, and notes. Series III contains drafts and manuscripts of Buchanan's autobiography and others' biographies. Series IV consists of a wide variety of printed material, including pamphlets, newspaper clippings, broadsides, and books. Series V contains Buchanan's assorted personal business papers, including deeds, contracts, promissory notes, receipts, checks, accounts, and letters pertaining exclusively to business matters. Series VI contains legal papers, 1811-1832, from Buchanan's legal practice. Series VII is a highly miscellaneous group, including a survey of Buchanan-related materials in the Library of Congress. Most series are arranged chronologically, though Series II (Speeches, memoranda, notes) is arranged topically. Volumes are arranged by size. This collection was microfilmed in 1974 based on an earlier series arrangement, and most folders are marked with microfilm reel numbers that correspond to the published microfilm guide. A small amount of unmicrofilmed material can be found at the end of Series I (Correspondence) and in Series IV (Printed material). 
520 |a The James Buchanan papers span the entirety of Buchanan's legal, political and diplomatic career, including his service as Pennsylvania assemblyman, U.S. representative, minister to Russia, U.S. senator, secretary of state, envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary to Great Britain, and president of the United States. The collection consists primarily of correspondence, but also includes speeches, notes, business papers, legal papers, manuscript drafts, pamphlets, books, newspaper clippings, and scrapbooks. The most significant groups of materials in this collection are related to Buchanan's time as secretary of state, 1845-1849; minister to Great Britain, 1854-1856; and the growing differences between the North and South before the Civil War, 1857-1861. 
524 8 |a Cite as: [Indicate cited item or series here], James Buchanan papers (Collection 91), The Historical Society of Pennsylvania. 
541 1 |a Gift of the Buchanan family; transferred to the Historical Society, circa 1895-1897. 
544 |a James Buchanan and Harriet Lane Johnston papers (MSS14258), Library of Congress. James Buchanan collection (Ms. group 28), Pennsylvania State Archives. James Buchanan collection, 1816-1994 (MG-96), Lancaster County Historical Society. James Buchanan papers (1988-0015H), Penn State University. James Buchanan papers (MC 1998.10), Dickinson College. 
544 |a Buchanan family papers (accession number a1992:38). Buchanan fund records (call number Am .0344), 1847-1848. Lewis S. Coryell papers (collection 151), 1806-1872. Gilpin family papers (collection 238), 1727-1872. Henry family papers (collection 92), 1770-1914. J. Buchanan Henry records (call number Am .07846). Joel Roberts Poinsett papers (collection 512), 1785-1851. William W. (William Wagener) Porter collection (collection 517), 1770-1880. 
545 |a James Buchanan was born April 23, 1791 at Stony Batter, near Mercersburg, Pennsylvania. His father had migrated from northern Ireland in 1783, and became a successful frontier storekeeper. James was one of eleven children. After graduating from Dickinson College in 1809, he moved to Lancaster, then the capital of Pennsylvania, where he studied law and entered into practice in 1813. As a Federalist, Buchanan served as state assemblyman from Lancaster for two terms, 1814-1815, and a few years later successfully defended Federalist Judge Walter Franklin against impeachment before the state Senate. After the unexpected death of his fiancee Ann Coleman in 1819, Buchanan left Lancaster and law for a political career in Washington, D.C. He was elected to five terms as congressman, 1821-1831, running first as a Federalist but after 1824 proclaiming himself an adherent to the new Jacksonian party. President Andrew Jackson appointed Buchanan as minister to Russia, 1832-1833, a post which kept him in the Jacksonian ranks but banished him temporarily from domestic politics. Buchanan was elected U.S. senator in 1834 to fill William Wilkins's unfinished term, then re-elected in 1836 and 1842. He became chairman of the committee on abolition petitions, chairman of the committee on foreign relations, and aided materially in drafting the Independent Treasury Bill. Under James K. Polk, Buchanan served as secretary of state from 1845-1849. As secretary of state, Buchanan achieved a peaceful settlement of the Oregon dispute with Great Britain and oversaw U.S. foreign affairs in the lead up to and during the Mexican War. Buchanan retired from politics in 1849, and returned to his Wheatland estate in Lancaster, Pennsylvania during the Taylor-Fillmore administration. In 1853, President Franklin Pierce offered Buchanan the ministry to Great Britain. At Pierce's instructions, Buchanan and American ministers in Madrid and Paris drafted the Ostend Manifesto in 1854, laying out a rationale for taking Cuba from Spain. The public bitterly criticized the manifesto, which helped cost Pierce a second term as president. Upon his return from Great Britain in 1856, Buchanan was named Democratic nominee for president and was elected in November. President Buchanan faced a nation already deeply split between North and South over many fundamental issues, including not only slavery but also the protective tariff, free western land, and the distribution of federal funds. Buchanan sought to emphasize his position as a non-sectional leader who would be bound by a traditional view of the Constitution, and he divided his Cabinet evenly between North and South. Just two days after Buchanan's inauguration, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the Dred Scott case that African Americans were not citizens of the United States. Buchanan also faced the Panic of 1857 and the Kansas crisis during his first year as president. On the dangerous problem of the admission of Kansas, Buchanan achieved a compromise solution that later brought Kansas into the Union as a free state, but in the course of the uproar, Senator Stephen A. Douglas bolted from the administration and the Democrats did not recover from the split. Sectional conflict continued to build, fueled by the abolitionist press, the split between Buchanan and Douglas Democrats, the Lincoln-Douglas debates, John Brown's raid at Harpers Ferry, and the Covode investigation of alleged presidential corruption. The Democrats were split and nominated a northern and a southern candidate for president in 1860. Republican candidate Abraham Lincoln won the election in November with no southern electoral votes, and South Carolina seceded on Dec. 20, 1860. During Buchanan's last months in office, he sought to isolate South Carolina and consolidate pro-Union sentiment in all the states, later also working to hold the key federal forts, increase the armed forces (which Congress rejected), and avoid any overt act that might detonate war. Lincoln continued Buchanan's policies, including the recommendation of a constitutional convention, until the Confederates attacked Fort Sumter on April 12-13, 1861. After that, Buchanan promptly backed Lincoln's position that no alternative now existed except war. Buchanan retired to his estate, Wheatland, in 1861 and remained there until his death. Buchanan never married. However, he became guardian or played the role of parent for many orphaned nephews and nieces, particularly the Lane children. Harriet Lane became his favorite and mistress of the White House during his presidency. Buchanan died June 1, 1868, and was interred in Woodward Hill Cemetery in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. 
555 |a Finding Aid Available Online:  
546 |a The bulk of the materials are in English, with rare letters and notes in French. 
600 1 7 |a Black, Jeremiah S. (Jeremiah Sullivan)  |d 1810-1883.  |2 NACO Authority File 
600 1 7 |a Breckinridge, John C. (John Cabell)  |d 1821-1875.  |2 NACO Authority File 
600 1 7 |a Brewster, Benjamin Harris  |d 1816-1888.  |2 NACO Authority File 
600 1 7 |a Cadwalader, John  |d 1805-1879.  |2 NACO Authority File 
600 1 4 |a Cameron, Simon  |d 1799-1889. 
600 1 7 |a Capen, Nahum  |d 1804-1886.  |2 NACO Authority File 
600 1 7 |a Cass, Lewis  |d 1782-1866.  |2 NACO Authority File 
600 1 7 |a Clarendon, George William Frederick Villiers  |c Earl of  |d 1800-1870.  |2 NACO Authority File 
600 1 7 |a Clay, Henry  |d 1777-1852.  |2 NACO Authority File 
600 1 7 |a Curtis, George Ticknor  |d 1812-1894.  |2 NACO Authority File 
600 1 4 |a Dallas, George Mifflin  |d 1792-1864. 
600 1 7 |a Dix, John A. (John Adams)  |d 1798-1879.  |2 NACO Authority File 
600 1 4 |a Douglas, Stephen Arnold  |d 1813-1861. 
600 1 7 |a Floyd, John B. (John Buchanan)  |d 1806-1863.  |2 NACO Authority File 
600 1 7 |a Forney, John W. (John Wien)  |d 1817-1881.  |2 NACO Authority File 
600 1 7 |a Franklin, Walter  |d 1773-1838.  |2 NACO Authority File 
600 1 7 |a Jackson, Andrew  |d 1767-1845.  |2 NACO Authority File 
600 1 7 |a King, Horatio  |d 1811-1897.  |2 NACO Authority File 
600 1 7 |a King, William R. (William Rufus)  |d 1786-1853.  |2 NACO Authority File 
600 1 7 |a Lincoln, Abraham  |d 1809-1865.  |2 NACO Authority File 
600 1 7 |a Marcy, William L. (William Learned)  |d 1786-1857.  |2 NACO Authority File 
600 1 7 |a Pierce, Franklin  |d 1804-1869.  |2 NACO Authority File 
600 1 7 |a Pleasonton, Clemintina  |d d. 1888.  |2 NACO Authority File 
600 1 7 |a Pleasonton, Laura  |d d. 1893.  |2 NACO Authority File 
600 1 7 |a Pleasonton, Stephen  |d d. 1855.  |2 NACO Authority File 
600 1 7 |a Polk, James K. (James Knox)  |d 1795-1849.  |2 NACO Authority File 
600 1 7 |a Read, John Meredith  |d 1797-1874.  |2 NACO Authority File 
600 1 7 |a Reed, William B. (William Bradford)  |d 1806-1876.  |2 NACO Authority File 
600 1 4 |a Shunk, Francis Rawn  |d 1788-1848. 
600 1 7 |a Slidell, John  |d 1793-1871.  |2 NACO Authority File 
600 1 7 |a Stanton, Edwin McMasters  |d 1814-1869.  |2 NACO Authority File 
600 1 7 |a Taylor, Zachary  |d 1784-1850.   |2 NACO Authority File 
600 1 7 |a Toucey, Isaac  |d 1796-1869.  |2 NACO Authority File 
600 1 7 |a Trist, Nicholas Philip  |d 1800-1874.  |2 NACO Authority File 
600 1 7 |a Van Buren, Martin  |d 1782-1862.  |2 NACO Authority File 
600 1 7 |a Walker, Robert  |d 1801-1869.  |2 NACO Authority File 
600 1 7 |a Walsh, Hugh.  |2 NACO Authority File 
610 2 7 |a Bank of the United States (1816-1836)  |2 NACO Authority File 
610 2 7 |a Democratic Party (U.S.)  |2 NACO Authority File 
610 2 7 |a Wheatland (Lancaster, Pa.)  |2 NACO Authority File 
650 0 |a Compromise of 1850. 
650 0 |a Mexican War, 1846-1848. 
650 0 |a Scott, Dred. 
650 0 |a Slavery. 
650 0 |a United States--Latin American relations. 
650 0 |a Wilmot proviso. 
651 0 |a Kansas--History--1854-1861. 
651 0 |a Pennsylvania--Politics and government. 
651 0 |a United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865. 
651 0 |a United States--Politics and government. 
651 0 |a Utah--History--Civil War, 1861-1865. 
655 7 |a Correspondence.  |2 Genre Terms: A Thesaurus for Use in Rare Book and Special Collections Cataloging 
852 |a The Historical Society of Pennsylvania  |b James Buchanan Papers  |l 0091 
856 4 2 |y Link to finding aid  |u http://www2.hsp.org/collections/manuscripts/b/Buchanan0091.html