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James Buchanan Collection

An inventory of the collection at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: Michele Combs
Date: 21 Jul 2009

Biographical History

James Buchanan (1791-1868) was the 15th President of the United States, from 1857-1861. His presidency coincided with increasing tensions between North and South over states' rights and slavery, with the outbreak of hostilities at Fort Sumter coming barely a month after his successor, Abraham Lincoln, took office. Prior to his presidency Buchanan was elected five times to the United States Congress where he served as Representative for the state of Pennsylvania (1821-1831) and as Chairman of the House Committee on the Judiciary (1829-1831). After a brief period as Minister to Russia (1832-1833), he was a U.S. Senator (1834-1845), Secretary of State (1845-1849), and Minister Plenipotentiary to the Court of St. James (1853-1856).

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The James Buchanan Collection consists of a transcribed copy of an Act of Congress and three items of correspondence. The Act concerns a court case involving the Society for the Reformation of Juvenile Delinquents in the City of New York, and is accompanied by a State Department certificate of authenticity signed by Buchanan as Secretary of State. One letter, from Buchanan in Edinburgh to a "D. S. Kennedy" of Wall Street, discusses the gold standard, including the potential impact of the discovery of gold in California; two incoming letters deal with a request for a Captain's commission and a donation to the Pennsylvania Soldiers Relief Association.

Arrangement of the Collection

Items are in chronological order.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Subject Headings


Buchanan, James, 1791-1868.

Corporate Bodies

Society for the Reformation of Juvenile Delinquents in the City of New-York.
United States. -- Department of State -- History.


Gold standard -- United States.

Genres and Forms

Legislative acts.
Letters (correspondence)


Cabinet officers.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

James Buchanan Collection,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Purchase, 1969. Transfer from Rare Books, 1986.

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