The Papers of Jefferson Davis
The Papers of Jefferson Davis

Jefferson and Varina Davis, their daughter Margaret, her children, and a servant, 1885 Library of Congress



Jefferson Davis Bibliography

The best recent Davis biographies are by William J. Cooper, Jr., and William C. Davis (no relation).  Cooper's Jefferson Davis, American (2000) and Davis' Jefferson Davis: The Man and His Hour (1991), are widely available in bookstores and libraries.  Also on the horizon is a biography of Varina Howell Davis by Joan E. Cashin.     

The best sources for documents are the Davis Papers and the 1923 series edited by Dunbar Rowland, Jefferson Davis, Constitutionalist (10 vols.), which prints in full many of the prewar speeches that are summarized in the Davis Papers.  Davis' memoir, The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government (2 vols., 1881), is poorly edited, legalistic, and contains few genuine insights about the Confederacy and the war. His wife's work, Jefferson Davis.. A Memoir (2 vols., 1890), is more lively but not completely reliable concerning dates and facts.

Selected books about Jefferson Davis

Alfriend, Frank H.  The Life of Jefferson Davis.  1868
Allen, Felicity.  Jefferson Davis, Unconquerable Heart.   1999
Ballard, Michael B.  A Long Shadow: Jefferson Davis and the Final Days of the Confederacy.   1986
Bancroft, A. C.  The Life and Death of Jefferson Davis. 1889
Catton, Bruce and William.  Two Roads to Sumter. 1971
Cooper, William J., Jr.  Jefferson Davis, American.  2000
Cooper, William J., Jr. Jefferson Davis and the Civil War Era. 2013
Craven, John J.  Prison Life of Jefferson Davis.  1866
Cutting, Elisabeth B.  Jefferson Davis.  1930
Davis, Burke.  The Long Surrender.  1985
Davis, Jefferson.  Jefferson Davis, Constitutionalist. Ed. by Dunbar Rowland. 10 vols.  1923
_______.  Jefferson Davis: Private Letters. Ed. by Hudson Strode.  1966
_______.  The Papers of Jefferson Davis. Ed. by Haskell M. Monroe et al., 10 vols. to date.  1971-
Davis, Varina Howell.  Jefferson Davis...A Memoir. (2 vols.)  1890
Davis, William C.  Jefferson Davis: The Man and His Hour.  1991
_______.  An Honorable Defeat:  The Last Days of the Confederate Government.  2001
Dirck, Brian R.  Lincoln & Davis:  Imagining America, 1809-1865.  2001
Dodd, William E.  Jefferson Davis.  1907
Eaton, Clement.  Jefferson Davis.  1977
Eckenrode, Hamilton J.  Jefferson Davis.  1923
Eckert, Edward K.  Fiction Distorting Fact: The Prison Life.  1986
Escott, Paul D.  After Secession: Jefferson Davis and the Failure of Confederate Nationalism.  1978
Everett, Frank E.  Brierfield: Plantation Home of Jefferson Davis.  1971
Gugliotta, Guy. Freedom's Cap: The United States Capitol and the Coming of the Civil War. 2012
Hattaway, Herman, and Richard E. Beringer. Jefferson Davis, Confederate President. 2002 Hedrick, Burton J.  Statesmen of the Lost Cause: Jefferson Davis and His Cabinet.  1939
Jones, J. William.  The Davis Memorial Volume.  1890
Kimmel, Stanley.  Mr. Davis's Richmond.  1958
Knight, Landon.  The Real Jefferson Davis.  1904
Life & Reminiscences of Jefferson Davis.  1890
Lindsey, David.  A. Lincoln/Jefferson Davis.  1960
Mann, Ambrose D.  "My ever dearest friend" . . . Letters to Jefferson Davis, 1869-1889.  1960
McElroy, Robert M. Jefferson Davis. (2 vols.) 1937
Patrick, Rembert W.  Jefferson Davis and His Cabinet.  1944
Pollard, Edwin A.  Life of Jefferson Davis.  1869
Quynn, Russell H.  Constitutions of Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis.  1959
Rable, George C.  The Confederate Republic:  A Revolution Against Politics.  1994
Schaff, Morris.  Jefferson Davis, His Life and Personality.  1922
Strode, Hudson.  Jefferson Davis. (3 vols.)  1955-64
Tate, Allen.  Jefferson Davis, His Rise and Fall.  1929
Warren, Robert Penn.  Jefferson Davis Gets His Citizenship Back.  1980
Werstein, Irving.  Abraham Lincoln versus Jefferson Davis.  1959
Wiley, Bell I.  The Road to Appomattox.  1956
Winston, Robert W.  High Stakes and Hair Trigger: The Life of Jefferson Davis.  1930
Woodworth, Steven E.  Jefferson Davis and His Generals.  1990
_______.  Davis and Lee at War.  1995

Books and articles by Jefferson Davis

The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government.  2 vols. New York: D. Appleton, 1881
A Short History of the Confederate States of America.  New York: Belford, 1890
"Andersonville and Other War-Prisons," Belford's Magazine, 4 (January, February 1890), 161-78, 337-53
"Autobiography of Jefferson Davis," ibid. (January 1890), 255-66
"The Doctrine of State Rights," North American Review, 150 (February 1890), 205-19
"The Indian Policy of the United States," ibid., 143 (November 1886), 436-46
"Life and Character of the Hon. John Caldwell Calhoun," ibid., 145 (September 1887), 246-60
"Lord Wolseley's Mistakes," ibid., 149 (October 1889), 472-82
"Robert E. Lee," Southern Historical Society Papers, 17 (1889), 362-72 

Books about Varina Howell Davis

Berkin, Carol. Civil War Wives: the lives and times of Angelina Grimke Weld, Varina Howell Davis, and Julia Dent Grant. 2010
Cashin, Joan E. First Lady of the Confederacy: Varina Davis' Civil War.  2006
Randall, Ruth Painter.  I, Varina: A Biography of the Girl Who Married Jefferson Davis and Became the First Lady of the South.  1962
Rowland, Eron O.  Varina Howell, Wife of Jefferson Davis. (2 vols.)  1927-31
Ross, Ishbel.  First Lady of the South: The Life of Mrs. Jefferson Davis.  1958
Van der Heuvel, Gerry.  Crowns of Thorns and Glory: Mary Todd Lincoln and Varina Howell Davis.  1988 

Fiction about the Davises

Dixon, Thomas.  The Victim.  1914
Kane, Harnett T.  Bride of Fortune.  1948
Oliver, Julia, Devotion: A Novel Based on the Life of Winnie Davis. 2006
Olsen, Theodore V.  There Was a Season. 1972
Seifert, Shirley.  The Proud Way.  1948 

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