The Papers of Jefferson Davis
 
The Papers of Jefferson Davis

This portrait of unknown origin, depicting Davis in the 1880s, hangs in the office of The Papers of Jefferson Davis, located at Rice University in Houston, TX

 

Published Volumes

The Papers of Jefferson Davis  is published by Louisiana State University Press.  Online ordering links are listed below each volume.  Orders can also be placed by phone at 1-800-848-6224 or by fax at 1-800-272-6817. 

The first four volumes contain full text or summarized notation of all known Davis documents through 1852. Due to the extensive correspondence beginning with the secretary of war period and continuing though the Civil War years, Volume 5 and subsequent volumes are selective, with routine bureaucratic communication omitted. Documents discovered too late to be included in the proper chronological sequence are published in appendices. All volumes contain illustrations and detailed endpaper maps.

Indexes are available online for Volumes 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11  (1861-64).


Volume 1: 1808-1840

Edited by Haskell M. Monroe, Jr., and James T. McIntosh
Introduction by Bruce Catton
Published in 1971; revised edition, 1991
 
The first volume, comprising 537 documents, covers Davis' early years in Kentucky and Mississippi, his education at West Point, his first military assignments, and his brief marriage to Sarah Knox Taylor. Two autobiographical pieces, written weeks before Davis' death, are included, as is a Davis Family Genealogy. This volume won the first Founders Award given by the Confederate Memorial Literary Society (Museum of the Confederacy).
 
Order Volume 1 from LSU Press.

Volume 2: June 1841-July 1846

Edited by James T. McIntosh
Introduction by Sanford W. Higginbotham
Published in 1974; revised edition, 1987
 
Coverage of Davis' careers as planter and politician begins in the second volume. The 255 documents cover his unsuccessful race for the state legislature, his selection as a presidential elector, his marriage to Varina Banks Howell, his election to the House of Representatives, and his departure to assume command of the 1st Mississippi Regiment.
 
Order Volume 2 from LSU Press.

Volume 3: July 1846-December 1848

Edited by James T. McIntosh, Lynda L. Crist, and Mary S. Dix
Introduction by K. Jack Bauer
Published in 1981
 
Colonel Davis takes command of the 1st Mississippi Regiment at the beginning of the third volume. He returns from the Mexican War a hero, wounded in action at Buena Vista. The resulting popularity sends him to the Senate in 1848. The volume includes 152 documents printed in full (i.e., with annotation) and 533 summarized items.
 
Order Volume 3 from LSU Press.

Volume 4: 1849-1852

Edited by Lynda L. Crist, Mary S. Dix, and Richard E. Beringer
Introduction by Richard E. Beringer
Published in 1983
 
Sectional issues become more prominent for Senator Davis in the fourth volume. The 1,000+ documents (108 printed in full) include his opposition to the Compromise of 1850, his proposal to purchase camels for military transportation, and his advocacy of a Pacific railroad. Davis resigned from the Senate in 1851 to mount an unsuccessful gubernatorial campaign, then laid the groundwork for a cabinet post by campaigning for Franklin Pierce in 1852. The volume also includes an extensive Davis Family Genealogy.
 
Order Volume 4 from LSU Press.

Volume 5: 1853-1855

Edited by Lynda L. Crist and Mary S. Dix
Introduction by Robert M. Utley
Published in 1985; revised edition, 2000

The fifth volume shows Davis as an especially active secretary of war, overseeing revision of the West Point curriculum, construction of the Washington Aqueduct, expansion of the Capitol (including the dome addition), development of new weapons and armaments, the Crimea commission, the Pacific railroad surveys, and the camel experiment. Of the approximately 21,700 known documents for this period, 93 are printed in full and around 9,000 appear in precis form.

Order Volume 5 from LSU Press.

Volume 6: 1856-1860

Edited by Lynda L. Crist and Mary S. Dix
Introduction by Robert W. Johannsen
Published in 1989
 
After a final year as secretary of war, during which he dealt with turmoil in Kansas and oversaw army reorganization, the sixth volume has Davis returning to the Senate as a leading southern voice during the secession crisis. Nearly half of the 12,900 documents for the period are summarized, and 116 of the most important are printed with full annotation. 
 
Order Volume 6 from LSU Press.

Volume 7: 1861

Edited by Lynda L. Crist and Mary S. Dix
Introduction by Frank E. Vandiver
Published in 1992
 
Davis "reaches his destiny in this volume," according to the introduction, as he bids farewell to the Senate and becomes president of the Confederacy. As hopes for a peaceful separation from the North end with the firing on Fort Sumter, Davis is faced with the task of quickly assembling both a government and an army. The 2,500+ documents (124 printed in full) provide a remarkable view of the shaping of a nation and its president. 
 
Order Volume 7 from LSU Press.

Volume 8: 1862

Edited by Lynda L. Crist, Mary S. Dix, and Kenneth H. Williams
Introduction by Grady McWhiney
Published in 1995
 
The war becomes more personal for Davis in 1862. A Union advance on Richmond convinces him to send his family to Raleigh in May, a separation which produces some of the most remarkable and revealing correspondence of the series. At the same time, Joseph E. Davis is forced to abandon the brothers' plantations in Mississippi. Feuds with Joseph E. Johnston and P. G. T. Beauregard grow, and differences with George W. Randolph drive the secretary of war from office, but Davis' friendship with Robert E. Lee blossoms. Over 2,000 documents are included, with 133 printed in full.  Volume 8 won The Museum of the Confederacy's Founders Award (1997).
 
Order Volume 8 from LSU Press.

Volume 9: January-September 1863

Edited by Lynda L. Crist, Mary S. Dix, and Kenneth H. Williams
Introduction by Judith Fenner Gentry
Published in 1997
 
This volume provides a vivid picture of Davis as wartime leader.  Readers can learn what Davis knew as the noose tightened around Vicksburg and Lee guided his battle-hardened army toward Pennsylvania. The rift with Joseph E. Johnston grows, while Braxton Bragg and John C. Pemberton fail in important commands. Various hopes for ending the conflict give way to the harsh realities of a prolonged war, increasingly confined to southern soil. Through much of the period Davis battles both ill health and generals either reluctant or incapable of carrying out his wishes. Eighty-one documents are presented with annotation, 242 more in full text, and 1,750 others in shorter form.
 
Order Volume 9 from LSU Press.

Volume 10: October 1863-August 1864

Edited by Lynda L. Crist, Kenneth H. Williams, and Peggy L. Dillard
Introduction by James I. Robertson, Jr. 
Published in 1999
 
In Volume 10 Davis struggles to keep the Confederacy united as Federal armies advance in all areas. Infighting among generals in Braxton Bragg's western command leads Davis to turn to Joseph E. Johnston, only to find it necessary to replace Johnston seven months later. Robert E. Lee meets the stern challenge of Ulysses S. Grant, while Davis faces rising opposition from governors and Congress.
 
Order Volume 10 from LSU Press.

Volume 11:  September 1864-May 1865

Edited by Lynda L. Crist, Barbara J. Rozek, and Kenneth H. Williams
Introduction by Richard J. Sommers 
Published in 2003

Covering the tumultuous last nine months of the war, Volume 11 tells of the demise of the Confederate States.  It also showcases Davis' vigorous and determined efforts to maintain the government despite recurring defeats, financial disaster, failures in diplomacy and peace negotiations, and plummeting morale.  Of special note are the documents concerning the fall of Richmond and the Davises' eventful flight until their capture in Georgia on May 10.

Order Volume 11 from LSU Press.  

Volume 12:  June 1865-December 1870

Edited by Lynda L. Crist, Suzanne Scott Gibbs, Brady L. Hutchison and Elizabeth Henson Smith
Introduction by William J. Cooper, Jr. 
Published in 2008

Volume 12 follows Davis and his family as they fight to find their place in the world after the Civil War.  Davis was released from federal prison after two hard years, he was not free from legal proceedings until 1869.  Stateless, homeless, and without means to support himself and his young family, Davis lived in Canada and then Europe, searching for a new career in a congenial atmosphere.  In November 1869, he settled in Memphis as president of a life insurance company, and for the first time in four years, had the means to build a new life.

Order Volume 12 from LSU Press.  

Volume 13:  1871-1879

Edited by Lynda L. Crist and Suzanne Scott Gibbs
Introduction by T. Michael Parrish
Published in 2012   
 
Throughout the 1870s, Davis waged an expensive and seemingly endless legal battle to regain his prewar Mississippi plantation, Brierfield. He also began working on his memoirs at Beauvoir, the Gulf Coast estate of a family friend. Though disfranchised, Davis addressed the subject of politics with more frequency during this decade, criticizing the Reconstruction policies of the federal government while defending the South and the former Confederacy. The volume ends with Davis’s inheritance of Beauvoir, which was his last home.   
 
Order Volume 13 from LSU Press.
 
  

How to Reach Us

The Papers of Jefferson Davis
Rice University--MS 43
P.O. Box 1892
Houston, Texas 77251-1892
Phone: (713) 348-4990
Fax: (713) 348-4383
E-mail: davis@rice.edu