[Former President Martin Van Buren, half-length portrait, facing right]I am pleased to announce that James Bradley and I are co-editing a new scholarly edition of The Papers of Martin Van Buren (PMVB). This project has been in the works for almost a year, but I think we’ve moved far enough from the idea stage to the actual project itself that making a formal announcement is appropriate.

About eighteen months ago, James contacted me about undertaking the transcription, annotation, and publication of the eighth president’s papers. Our plan is to produce a one-volume letterpress edition of Van Buren’s most important political papers and a digital edition of all of his documents, most of which are held at the Library of Congress.

We met last summer and put together an action plan. Our first task was to assemble an advisory board, which we did last fall. At the moment, our advisory board includes:

  • Dr. John L. Brooke, Humanities Distinguished Professor of History, The Ohio State University
  • Dr. Daniel Feller, Professor of History and Chief Editor, The Papers of Andrew Jackson, University of Tennessee
  • Dr. George Franz, Pennsylvania State University Brandywine (emeritus), former Editor/Project Director, The Papers of Martin Van Buren microfilm edition
  • Dr. Reeve Huston, Associate Professor of History, Duke University
  • Dr. John F. Marszalek, Chief Editor, The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant, Mississippi State University
  • Ms. Ruth Piwonka, Historian, Columbia County, New York
  • Dr. Harry L. Watson, Atlanta Alumni Distinguished Professor of Southern Culture, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Right now, we are primarily focusing on organizing the project office at Cumberland University and raising money through grants and donations.

I’m currently completing the Association for Documentary Editing’s Camp Edit, which has been enormously helpful in conceptualizing a number of things related to the project. As the PMVB project moves forward, I’ll post more updates on its progress.

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