Andrew Jackson's Letters and Papers
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 around the world. The Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., has the largest single collection with more than 20,000 items. This collection has been placed online, and images of the documents in it may be viewed at https://www.loc.gov/collections/andrew-jackson-papers/. Many official records generated by Jackson’s long years in military and government service are in the National Archives, also in Washington. Andrew Jackson’s 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.
Andrew Jackson Papers Project
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 photocopies of Jackson’s papers from all sources and preserved their images on a microfilm series, which major research libraries have purchased. 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 below.View publication
Full Texts Available
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, it will provide a complete documentary record of Jackson’s entire life and career. Twelve volumes covering Jackson’s life through 1834 have so far been produced. An additional volume, The Legal Papers of Andrew Jackson, covers his career as a lawyer and judge. All of these are available for purchase from the publisher, University of Tennessee Press, or on loan from libraries. In addition, the volumes are now online in searchable format in two places. The University of Virginia Press’s Rotunda digital imprint has incorporated the Jackson series into its American History Collection. Here, one can cross-search between the Jackson Papers and the many other editions in the collection, including the papers of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, Woodrow Wilson and other leading statesmen. One can also click directly from the Jackson documents in the volumes to images of original manuscripts in the Library of Congress Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren and James K. Polk collections. The Rotunda database is accessible by paid subscription or free for short-term.
All 12 volumes to date of the Jackson Papers series are now also available, free of charge and with unlimited access, in the form of individually searchable and downloadable PDFs on Newfound Press, the digital imprint of the University of Tennessee Press and the University Libraries.Download Now
For later years that the project has not yet reached, there is an older seven-volume collection, Correspondence of Andrew Jackson, edited by John Spencer Bassett and published from 1926 to 1935. This edition runs to the end of Jackson’s life but contains a much narrower selection of documents.
The Hermitage regrets that because of staff limitations, we cannot research the papers except to answer specific questions. Likewise, the Jackson Papers project may not reply to queries that can be answered by consulting the volumes themselves.
Publication of The Papers of Andrew Jackson is supported by the University of Tennessee, the Tennessee Historical Commission and two federal agencies, 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 project director is Dr. Michael E. Woods, who is also Associate Professor of History at the University of Tennessee.