James Buchanan and Harriet Lane Johnston Papers
The papers of James Buchanan (1791-1868), representative and senator of Pennsylvania, secretary of state, and fifteenth president of the United States, and those of his niece and White House hostess Harriet Lane Johnston (1830-1903) contain approximately 1,600 items dating from 1825 to 1887. James Buchanan’s papers include correspondence, notes, drafts of remarks, commissions, land patents and other papers relating chiefly to Buchanan’s career in the United States Senate, as secretary of state, and as minister to Great Britain prior to his presidency. Subjects include politics in Pennsylvania and nationally, sectional disputes, nullification, the National Bank, relations with Mexico, the Oregon question, trade treaties, tariffs, and the Ostend Manifesto. Harriet Lane Johnston’s correspondence relates primarily to fashion, social affairs, family matters, and the selection of a biographer of James Buchanan.
A selection of highlights includes:
- State of the Union message, 1858, Dec. 3.
- Letter, James Buchanan to Harriet Lane, December 19, 1861, providing his opinion about the Trent Affair and likelihood of war with Great Britain.
- Letter, James Buchanan to Anson Herrick, November 12, 1863, noting that he is an "interested spectator" during the Civil War but remains "a Democrat in principle."
- Letter, Harriet Lane Johnston to Hiester Clymer, April 21, 1874, thanking him for the defense of her uncle and commenting on the search for a biographer of James Buchanan.
Additional Digital Collections
Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress
The complete Abraham Lincoln Papers from the Manuscript
Division at the Library of Congress consist of approximately
20,000 documents. The collection contains a letter written
Buchanan to Lincoln on October 21, 1861, concerning
books that Buchanan left in the White House. It is the
only letter in the collection written by Buchanan to Lincoln.
In addition to this letter, the Abraham Lincoln Papers
contain more than forty items to, from, or referring to
Among the collection’s Buchanan-related materials
Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation: U.S. Congressional
Documents and Debates, 1774-1875
This collection contains a large selection of congressional
material related to James Buchanan's political career as
a member of the House of Representatives, U.S. Senate,
secretary of state, and president. Search
this collection by date and type of publication to
find materials related to Buchanan.
Slavery to Freedom: The African-American Pamphlet Collection,
This collection presents 396 pamphlets from the Rare Book
and Special Collections Division, published from 1822 through
1909, by African American authors and others who wrote
about slavery, African colonization, Emancipation, Reconstruction,
and related topics. It includes a pamphlet comparing James
Buchanan's and Millard Fillmore's record on slavery.
Music for the Nation: American Sheet Music, ca. 1820 to 1860
This collection consists of over 15,000 pieces of sheet music registered for copyright during the years 1820 to 1860, including six songs
related to James Buchanan.
Printed Ephemera: Three Centuries of Broadsides and Other Printed Ephemera
The Printed Ephemera collection comprises 28,000 primary
source items dating from the seventeenth century to the
present and encompasses key events and eras in American
history. Search the
bibliographic records and the full-text option to find
items related James Buchanan.
U.S. Presidential Inaugurations: "I Do Solemnly Swear..." A Resource Guide
This collection contains approximately 400 items relating
to presidential inaugurations, including Buchanan's
and Deeds in American History: Selected Documents Celebrating
the Manuscript Division's First 100 Years
In honor of the Manuscript Division's centennial, its
staff selected approximately ninety representative documents
spanning from the fifteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries.
This collection contains an illustrated letter from Amasa
J. Parker to Harriet Parker describing the boardinghouse
Fillmore and James Buchanan resided.