About The Project
Who We Are
The Papers of Jefferson Davis is a documentary editing project based at Rice University in Houston, Texas.
Editor and project director Lynda Lasswell Crist has contributed
to all the published volumes, has been editor since the fourth volume,
and also worked on The Papers of Andrew Johnson. Her
predecessors as editor were Haskell M. Monroe, Jr., and the late James
T. McIntosh. Mary Seaton Dix retired in 1995 after twenty-six years
with the project, but as coeditor emerita continues to volunteer her
considerable expertise. Suzanne Scott Gibbs has been assistant editor since 2006. The Rice History Department generously provides graduate student interns.
editorial advisory board was headed by the late Frank E. Vandiver and
is composed of distinguished historians from across the country. They
are Richard E. Beringer, William J. Cooper, Jr., Judith F. Gentry,
Harold M. Hyman, Edwin A. Miles, T. Michael Parrish, James I. Robertson,
Jr., Richard J. Sommers, and Emory M. Thomas.
The board of
directors includes Bertram Hayes-Davis (president), Jefferson Davis'
great-great-grandson and a Colorado businessman; Percival T. Beacroft
(vice-president), an attorney who has restored Davis' boyhood home,
Rosemont, in Woodville, Mississippi; John B. Boles
(secretary-treasurer), editor of The Journal of Southern History and professor of history at Rice University; Lynda L. Crist, project director; Elbert R. Hilliard, director emeritus of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History; and Allen J. Matusow, professor of history at Rice University.
What We Do
From the roughly 100,000 Davis documents in our files, we are producing a selective letterpress set that is being published by Louisiana State University Press. Twelve volumes have been published thus far, covering Davis' life through 1870. They may be ordered directly from the press. Fifteen volumes are projected.
Since we have the largest collection of Davis materials, our office also serves as a research center for scholars and others interested in the life and times of the Confederate president.
History of the Project
As noted Civil War scholars Frank E. Vandiver and Allan Nevins worked at the Huntington Library in the early 1960s, they discovered a number of important Davis items not available in print and decided that a new edition was needed. Vandiver, then a professor at Rice, secured sponsorship from the university, and in 1963 the Jefferson Davis Association was incorporated by the State of Texas. Editorial offices opened in December 1964, and after several years of scouring the country for documents, the first volume was published in 1971.