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James Buchanan Family Papers
Object ID
Description Level
James Buchanan Family Papers
The James Buchanan Family Papers collection is organized into eight parts: Part 1 Papers of James Buchanan, Part 2 Papers of Harriet Lane Johnston, Part 3 Papers of James Buchanan Henry, Part 4 Papers of Edward Young Buchanan, Part 5 Papers of Other members of the Buchanan Family, Part 6 Papers of Hiram B. Swarr, Part 7 Papers of Jonathan Messersmith Foltz, and Part 8 Papers of Others (Not Part of the Family). The papers are arranged by category within each part.
The correspondence is both professional and personal. The letters provide information about family and social events, business and military affairs, social and political history, health and illnesses, religious beliefs, education, friendships, domestic staff, and Wheatland. Political letters specifically highlight the Democratic Party in the United States in the early to mid-nineteenth century, as well as foreign policy and politics while Buchanan was the ambassador to Russia and England. Personal letters share family, local, regional, and international news between family members and friends.
Financial and legal documents include business papers, property records, estate papers, plans for James Buchanan's tomb, and investments. James Buchanan's 1856 presidential campaign and 1857 inauguration are captured in campaign ephemera, political cartoons, Democratic tickets, invitations to the inaugural ball, newspaper articles, and a political song. Other items in the collection include speeches, ephemera, genealogy, diplomas and certificates, account books, scrapbooks, newspaper articles, invitations, programs, pastoral records, and poetry.
Admin/Biographical History
James Buchanan was born on April 23, 1791 to James Buchanan and Elizabeth Speer. He was the second child born out of ten children, and he would go on to outlive all but one of his siblings. Most popularly remembered as Pennsylvania's only President and as a lifelong bachelor, Buchanan committed a lifetime to politics. In 1821, he left his law practice and embarked on his political career after having been voted into the U.S. House of Representatives. He would remain in the House for five consecutive terms before serving as the U.S. Minister to Russia, a Senator in the U.S. Senate, the U.S. Secretary of State, the U.S. Minister to Great Britain, and finally, the 15th President of the United States. He died in his bedchamber at Wheatland at 8:30 AM on June 1, 1868. He was 77 years old. [, accessed 10/24/2019]
Custodial History
The James Buchanan Family Papers were collected by the James Buchanan Foundation for the Preservation of Wheatland. This collection was relocated from the Wheatland mansion to the LancasterHistory archives in the Spring of 2009. Digitization of the James Buchanan Family Papers was funded by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, PHMC Appl ID # 201808013051, 2019-2020.
System of Arrangement
The James Buchanan Family Papers collection is arranged in eight parts:
Part 1 James Buchanan
Part 2 Harriet Lane Johnston
Part 3 James Buchanan Henry
Part 4 Edward Young Buchanan
Part 5 Other members of the Buchanan Family
Part 6 Hiram B. Swarr
Part 7 Jonathan Messersmith Foltz
Part 8 Papers of Others (Not Part of the Family)
Buchanan, James, 1791-1868
Buchanan, James
Johnston, Harriet Lane
Henry, James Buchanan
Swarr, Hiram Behm
Buchanan, Edward Young
Foltz, Jonathan Messersmith
Other Creators
James Buchanan Foundation for the Preservation of Wheatland (Lancaster, Pa.)
Search Terms
James Buchanan
Harriet Lane Johnston
Buchanan Collections
James Buchanan Presidential Library
20 cubic ft.
Object Name
English, French, German, Spanish, Swedish, Latin, Italian
Object ID
Archives South
Side 18
Associated Material
James Buchanan Papers, Dickinson College Archives & Special Collections
James Buchanan and Harriet Lane Johnston Papers, Library of Congress
James Buchanan Papers, Historical Society of Pennsylvania,
James Buchanan Papers, Penn State University Libraries,
Related Item Notes
James Buchanan Collection, MG0096
Historical Society of Pennsylvania microfilm
Photograph collections
Curatorial collections
Wheatland Mansion
Access Conditions / Restrictions
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Courtesy of LancasterHistory, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
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