Where are Andrew Jackson’s papers and how can I see them?
Thousands of Andrew Jackson’s papers survive, including letters, military orders, presidential and other government records, and business and legal papers. Most of these are held by libraries, museums, archives, and private collectors throughout the country and throughout the world. The Library of Congress in Washington, DC, has the largest single collection with over 20,000 items. Many official records are in the National Archives. The Hermitage owns about 300 items, and the Tennessee State Library and Archives in Nashville holds a small collection of Jackson letters as well. Because of their fragility and value, access to original Jackson manuscripts is often highly restricted.
Since 1971, the Andrew Jackson Papers project in the Department of History at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville has been working to make all of Jackson’s papers publicly available. The project has collected copies of all of Jackson’s papers from all sources and has preserved images of them on a microfilm series which has been purchased by major research libraries. The Papers of Andrew Jackson: Guide and Index to the Microfilm Editions, published by Scholarly Resources in 1987, gives the location on microfilm for every item and identifies it by the name of Jackson’s correspondent and by date. Anyone who wants to know if Jackson exchanged letters with a particular person should first check this publication. Its pages may be viewed online at http://thepapersofandrewjackson.utk.edu/guide.htm.
The Jackson Papers project is now publishing the full texts of Jackson’s letters and other papers in a chronological series of volumes entitled The Papers of Andrew Jackson. When finished, this series will provide a complete documentary record of Jackson’s entire life and career. Eight volumes covering Jackson’s life through the year 1830 have so far been produced. An additional volume, The Legal Papers of Andrew Jackson, covers his career as a lawyer and judge. All these volumes are available for purchase from the publisher, University of Tennessee Press, or on loan from libraries. There is also an older seven-volume collection, Correspondence of Andrew Jackson, edited by John Spencer Bassett and published from 1926 to 1935. Bassett’s edition runs to the end of Jackson’s life but contains a much narrower selection of documents than the Papers of Andrew Jackson series, which is designed to replace it.
Researchers interested in consulting Jackson’s papers should check with their nearest major library to see if it has The Papers of Andrew Jackson volumes or can procure them on loan. The Hermitage regrets that because of staff limitations we cannot research the papers except to answer specific questions. Likewise the Jackson Papers project will not respond to queries that researchers can answer by consulting the volumes themselves.
Publication of The Papers of Andrew Jackson has been supported by the University of Tennessee, The Ladies Hermitage Association, the Tennessee Historical Commission, and two agencies of the federal government, the National Historical Publications and Records Commission and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Sam B. Smith and Harriet Owsley founded the project and produced its first volume. Harold D. Moser edited the next five volumes and the microfilm. The current editor and project director is Daniel Feller, who is also Professor of History at the University of Tennessee.
Contact Information for The Papers of Andrew Jackson:
The Papers of Andrew Jackson
213 Hoskins Library
University of Tennessee
Knoxville, TN 37996-4000