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Papers of Andrew Johnson Project Records

Identifier: AR-0457

  • Staff Only

Series I: Papers and Volumes, 1829-1876 (bulk 1845-1876) contains copies of letters and documents published in The Papers of Andrew Johnson. The Project gathered primary documents from such institutions as the Tennessee State Library and Archives, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, the Huntington Library, the New York Public Library, the Massachusetts Historical Society, Duke University Library, the Library of Congress, and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). Copies of the handwritten original letters are occasionally accompanied by typed and proofread transcriptions. This series also houses drafts, materials used to write introductions and explanatory notes, and microfilm from NARA containing copies of primary documents from the Office of the Treasury, the Department of State, the United States Army, and other branches of the government dating from 1837 to 1878.

Series II: Research Files, 1837-1984 (bulk 1864-1984) houses unpublished materials, including correspondence, Supreme Court and Congressional records, military service records, pension records, and handwritten notes.

Series III: Administrative Papers, 1854-2000 (bulk 1957-2000) contains the Project's internal records, including payroll and personnel files, biographical information on Johnson and other figures, newspaper and journal articles, book reviews, excerpts from books about the period, budgets, grant proposals, press and public relations documents, and photographs (including images of President Lyndon Johnson accepting a copy of the first published volume of the set).


  • 1829-2000
  • Majority of material found within 1845-2000

Conditions Governing Access

Collections are stored offsite and must be requested in advance. See for detailed information. Collections must be requested through a registered Special Collections research account.

Conditions Governing Use

The UT Libraries claims only physical ownership of most material in the collections. Persons wishing to broadcast or publish this material must assume all responsibility for identifying and satisfying any claimants on for detailed information. Collections must be requested through a registered Special Collections research account.


163 Linear Feet


This collection houses photocopied handwritten documents, microfilm, handwritten and typed notes, correspondence, congressional records, bills, pension records, military service records, diaries, journal articles, newspapers, and transcripts used to write The Papers of Andrew Johnson, a sixteen-volume set covering the years 1858 to 1875. Some material that was not published in the final set is included here. Additionally, the collection houses information about the Project itself, including budgets, grant proposals, permission to publish statements, National Archives and Records Administration record guides, and correspondence with repositories and collectors.

Biographical/Historical Note

Born December 29, 1808, Andrew Johnson began his political career in Greeneville, Tenn. After serving as both alderman and mayor of Greeneville, Johnson successfully ran for a seat in the lower house of the state legislature in 1835. After serving three terms in the state Senate, Johnson moved to the United States House of Representatives, where he served for ten years, 1843-1853. He also served as Governor of Tennessee from 1853-1857. In the fall of 1857, he was chosen as a United States Senator.

In 1861, Johnson returned to East Tennessee to fight the surging secessionist movement, joining former political opponents such as William G. Brownlow, Thomas A. R. Nelson, Horace Maynard, and others in his support of the Union. After a June 8 referendum in which Tennesseeans voted for secession, Johnson returned to Washington to escape physical harm.

After the Federal capture of Forts Henry and Donelson and the occupation of Nashville in February 1862, however, President Lincoln sent Johnson back to Tennessee to serve as military governor, a position in which he was charged to restore civil government and bring the state back to the Union. In 1864, the Republicans nominated Johnson as Lincoln's running mate because of his staunch Unionism as a War Democrat. After Lincoln's assassination on April 14, 1865, Johnson was sworn in as the seventeenth President of the United States.

Johnson faced the difficult task of reconstructing the nation in the wake of the Civil War as he assumed the presidency. Johnson and Congress clashed over control of Reconstruction, and in 1868, the House Republicans in Congress impeached Johnson, the first president to face impeachment. Johnson's presidency was spared by a single vote in the Senate.

Following his tumultuous presidency, Johnson returned to Greeneville, eager for vindication. In 1874, he became the first former President of the United States to win a seat in the United States Senate. However, four months after taking his seat in the Senate, Johnson suffered a stroke and died on July 31, 1875. He was buried wrapped in a American flag with his head resting on a copy of the Constitution.

The Andrew Johnson Papers Project began in the mid-1950s as part of a larger trend toward projects for the collection and publication of presidential papers. It was funded by the National Historical Publications Commission (now the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC)), a statutory body affiliated with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). The project was headed by University of Tennessee historians LeRoy Graf and Ralph Haskins and later by Paul Bergeron. The project became part of the Tennessee Presidents Center in 1987, joining the papers projects of the three Tennessee presidents, Andrew Johnson, Andrew Jackson, and James K. Polk. The first volume of The Papers of Andrew Johnson was published in 1967 and the project was completed July 31, 2000. The volumes cover the years 1858 to 1875.


This collection consists of one hundred and fifty-three boxes divided into three series:

Missing Title

  1. Series I: Papers and Volumes, 1829-1876 (bulk 1845-1876)
  2. Series II: Research Files, 1837-1984 (bulk 1864-1984)
  3. Series III: Administrative Papers, 1854-2000 (bulk 1957-2000)

Acquisition Note

These records were transferred to the University of Tennessee Archives when the Andrew Johnson Project was completed in 2000.

Repository Details

Part of the Betsey B. Creekmore Special Collections and University Archives, University of Tennessee, Knoxville Repository

University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville TN 37996 USA