Van Buren Papers Receives Major Grant

Cumberland University’s Papers of Martin Van Buren (PMVB) project recently received a grant of $198,000 from the Watson-Brown Foundation.

The PMVB project is a joint digital and print project directed by Dr. Mark Cheathem, professor of history at Cumberland University. The project will make accessible approximately 13,000 documents belonging to the eighth president via the website and a print edition of Van Buren’s most important political documents.
While the grant will provide funding to hire an assistant editor and an associate editor, a significant percentage of the grant will also fund student scholarships, increasing the number of students involved in the project. From the project’s beginning, students have been the primary transcribers of the often difficult-to-decipher nineteenth-century handwriting.

“Through its funding of additional full-time staff and student workers, this gift will greatly increase the speed at which we can make Van Buren’s nationally significant papers accessible to the public,” Cheathem said. “Using the Watson-Brown Foundation gift to make scholarships available to students who want to work on the project is another indication of Cumberland University’s commitment to providing its students with a contemporary liberal arts education.”

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.

The Watson-Brown Foundation, based in Thomson, Ga., works to improve education in the American South by funding its schools and students, preserving its history, encouraging responsible scholarship, and promoting the memory and values of its spiritual founders.