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Cumberland University received a grant for $143,888 from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission for the Papers of Martin Van Buren project.

The funds will continue to support the creation of a digital edition of the Van Buren papers, which will make accessible approximately 13,000 documents belonging to the eighth U.S. president.

Project director and Cumberland University history professor Mark Cheathem involves students with transcribing the difficult-to-decipher papers, many of which are written in 19th-century handwriting.

“This is the third year in a row that the NHPRC has funded our project, which speaks to the National Archives’ commitment to see its progress continue,” Cheathem said.

By transcribing Van Buren’s papers, including his letters, speeches and notes, the project is providing insight into the founding of the Democratic party, the evolution of formal politics between the War of 1812 and the Civil War, and the changes in political culture that occurred during Van Buren’s lifetime.

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