Interns from three universities work on Van Buren papers project


Thanks to a grant from the Watson-Brown Foundation, several students are undertaking paid summer internships at the Papers of Martin Van Buren project at Cumberland University. The nine students (three graduate, six undergraduate) represent three universities in the Middle Tennessee area.

The interns are working on a variety of tasks, including a social media campaign to publicize the first series of documents to be published later this month; an item-level finding aid for the project’s archival records; biographical records for the individuals contained in the document database; and a day-to-day timeline of Van Buren’s life.

“It has been exciting to bring in new, as well as experienced, students to work on the project,” said project director Mark Cheathem. “The interns have brought an elevated energy and are helping us make significant strides on the project that will last long after their internships end.”

The Summer 2018 interns are:

Marissa Avnaim (Cumberland University)
Allyson Capuano (MTSU)
Treasure Corley (MTSU)
Paige Hrobsky (Cumberland University)
Ally Johnson (Cumberland University)
Zach Kinslow (Austin Peay State University)
Quinlan Day Odom (MTSU)
Jordan Russ (MTSU)
Amanda Womack (MTSU)

The Papers of Martin Van Buren is a joint digital/print project that will make accessible approximately 13,000 documents belonging to the eighth president. The editors expect to make Van Buren’s papers available on the freely accessible website hosted at When completed, this website will contain Van Buren’s transcribed papers. While the project is ongoing, the editors will periodically update the website with new documents. The papers will also be available in a four-volume print edition of Van Buren’s most important political documents, to be published by the University of Tennessee Press.

By transcribing Van Buren’s papers, including his letters, speeches, notes, and miscellaneous material, this project will provide fresh 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. Additionally, it will help scholars, students, and the public understand the maturation of United States politics during its early development.

The Papers of Martin Van Buren project is sponsored by Cumberland University, the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, and is produced in partnership with the Center for Digital Editing at the University of Virginia.

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