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History Research Guide: Papers of the Presidents

Print Sources on Presidents

A compilation of the messages and papers of the presidents prepared under the direction of the Joint committee on printing, of the House and Senate, pursuant to an act of the Fifty-second Congress of the United States
973 U58c (Level 2, 20 volume covering George Washington to William Theodore Roosevelt).

Messages and papers of Woodrow Wilson, with editorial notes, and introduction by Albert Shaw and an analytical index ...
Level 2,  973.913 U58m

Papers of the Presidents
 Level 1, GS 4.113:

1929-1932/33 (Herbert Hoover)
1945-1949 (Harry S. Truman)
1953-1960/61 (Dwight D. Eisenhower)
1961-1963 (John F. Kennedy)
1963/64 v.1-1968/69 v.2 (Lyndon B. Johnson)
1969-1973 (Richard Nixon)
1974 (Gerald R. Ford)
1974 (Richard Nixon)
1975 Bk.1-1976/77 Bk.3 (Gerald R. Ford)
1977 Bk.1-1980/81 Bk.3 (Jimmy Carter)
1981-1983 Bk.2 (Ronald Reagan)

AE 2.114:
Library Owns: 1984/Bk.1 - 1988-1989/Bk.2 (Ronald Reagan)
1989/Bk.1 - 1992-1993/Bk.2 (George Bush)
1993/Bk.1 - 2000-2001/Bk.3 (William J. Clinton)
2001/Bk.1 - 2008/Bk.2 (George W. Bush)
2009/Bk.1 - 2011/Bk.2 (Barack Obama)

The American Presidency Project

Early Presidents

George Washington
George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress
Founders Online: The George Washington Papers
“The Papers of George Washington documentary editing project was founded at the University of Virginia in 1968, under then-editor in chief Donald Jackson. While conducting a worldwide document search that eventually netted copies of some 140,000 documents (and is still underway), the project published Washington’s diaries in six volumes (1976–1979), and began publishing Washington’s general correspondence in multiple series in 1983.”

John Adams
Founders Online: The Adams Papers
“The Massachusetts Historical Society established the Adams Papers editorial project in 1954, upon the Adams family’s commitment to donate their extensive collection of correspondence, diaries, and other documents to the Society. This collection is the most comprehensive and historically significant family archive held by an American cultural institution, public or private.”

Thomas Jefferson
Founders Online: The Thomas Jefferson Papers
“The Papers of Thomas Jefferson is the definitive edition of the papers of the author of the Declaration of Independence, our nation’s third president. Begun in 1943 as the first modern historical documentary edition, the project includes not only the letters Jefferson wrote but also those he received.”

James Madison
Founders Online: James Madison Papers                                                                                                                                                                               “The modern edition of The Papers of James Madison documents the life and times of the Virginia statesman we remember today as the “Father of the Constitution” and the fourth president of the United States. The edition is organized into four series: the Congressional Series (1751–1801); the Secretary of State Series (1801–9); the Presidential Series (1809–17); and the Retirement Series (1817–36). Each series corresponds with one of the major phases of Madison’s public and private life between 1751 and 1836.”

James Monroe
James Monroe Papers at the Library of Congress
“The James Monroe Papers at the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress consist of approximately 5,200 items dating from 1758 to 1839. Monroe (1758–1831) was the fifth president of the United States, and one of 23 presidents whose papers are at the Library of Congress. Monroe's papers document his presidency and also his prior careers as secretary of state, secretary of war, delegate to the United States Continental Congress, diplomat, and governor of Virginia.”

John Adams
The Diaries of John Quincy Adams: A Digital Collection
“This website presents images of the 51 volumes of John Quincy Adams's diary in the Adams Family Papers at the Massachusetts Historical Society. Adams began keeping his diary, more than 14,000 pages, in 1779 at the age of twelve and continued until shortly before his death in 1848.”

Andrew Jackson
The Andrew Jackson Papers at the Library of Congress
“This web presentation is a portal to the materials contained in the Jackson Papers collection only, not to all documents by, about, or related to Jackson in the Manuscript Division. The Manuscript Division holds many additional Jackson and Jackson-related documents located in the collections of other individuals, including Jackson's friends and/or colleagues Willie Blount, Amos Kendall, and Francis P. Blair and the Blair family. Additional Jackson-related resources can be found in other presidential papers collections, including the papers of Martin Van Buren and James K. Polk.”

Andrew Jackson's Letters and Papers at the Hermitage
“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 over 20,000 items. ”

Martin Van Buren
Martin Van Buren Papers, 1787-1910, at the Library of Congress
“The Martin Van Buren Papers, one of twenty-three presidential collections in the Library of Congress Manuscript Division, contains more than 6,000 items dating from 1787 to circa 1910.  The bulk of the material dates from the 1820s, when Van Buren (1782-1862) was a U.S. senator from New York, through his service as secretary of state and vice president in the Andrew Jackson administrations (1829-1837), to his own presidency (1837-1841) and through the decade thereafter when he made unsuccessful bids to return to the presidency with the Democratic and Free Soil parties.”

The Papers of Martin Van Buren
“The Papers of Martin Van Buren is a joint digital/print documentary editing project focused on the papers of the eighth president, including his letters, speeches, notes, and miscellaneous material. When completed, this website will contain approximately 13,000 transcribed, minimally annotated Van Buren papers.”

William Henry Harrison
William Henry Harrison Papers at the Library of Congress
“The William Henry Harrison Papers, one of twenty-three presidential collections in the Library of Congress Manuscript Division, contains approximately 1,000 items dating from 1734 to 1939, with the bulk dated from 1812 to 1841.  Harrison (1773-1841), an army officer, representative, and senator from Ohio, served as the ninth president of the United States.  His collection includes a letterbook, 1812-1813, correspondence, and military papers stemming mostly from his military and political career in the Northwest Territory, his service in Indian wars and the War of 1812, his time as territorial governor of Indiana Territory (1800-1812), and his role as Whig Party candidate in the unsuccessful 1836 presidential bid and the successful 1840 election, the latter leading to his abbreviated presidential term, cut short by his death one month after his inauguration.”