The Knoxville News Sentinel takes a look today at the Andrew Jackson Papers Project at the University of Tennessee library. The goal of the project is to publish as many significant letters or other documents as possible that the seventh president wrote or received during his life.
When it comes to scholarly efforts, this is the long haul. According to the story, Dan Feller, director of the Papers Project, has “just delivered the seventh of a planned 16 volumes to the University of Tennessee Press, which expects to have it in print by this time next year.”
These books are not cheap. Amazon.com lists the volume covering Jackson’s papers from 1825-1828–just three years yet 784 pages long–at $70 new, and the least expensive used copy is $65.
The story concludes with a comment by Feller on how interpretations of historical figures change. “‘Historians respond to their own interests and concerns of their time,’ Feller said, noting that Arthur Schlesinger Jr.’s 1945 Pulitzer Prize-winning history, The Age of Jackson, devoted barely two sentences in 500-plus pages to Jackson’s role in Indian removal and the Trail of Tears – events for which Jackson is most closely associated today.”
However historians interpret Ole Hickory, having his papers available will provide them the best tools for their trade, now and for decades to come.