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James Buchanan: A Resource Guide

James Buchanan
James Buchanan / Engraved by J.C. Buttre.
 1 print: engraving.
N.Y.: published by Johnson, Fry & Co., c1857.
Prints & Photographs Division.
Reproduction Number:

Digital Collections

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:

Additional Digital Collections

Abraham 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 by James 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 James Buchanan.

Among the collection’s Buchanan-related materials are:

A 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.

From Slavery to Freedom: The African-American Pamphlet Collection, 1824-1909

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 1857 inauguration.

Words 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 where Millard Fillmore and James Buchanan resided.

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  February 1, 2018
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