The James K. Polk Project

Home of the Correspondence of James K. Polk


Sample Documents

Here you can see the original manuscripts, as well as our annotated transcriptions, of eight letters included in volume 12, the newest volume of the Correspondence of James K. Polk. These letters show the diversity of individuals and topics that populate the Correspondence. Polk writes to George Bancroft, U.S. minister to the United Kingdom, about the Mexican War, slavery, and the presidential election of 1848. Navy captain Uriah P. Levy and sea merchant Robert B. Forbes discuss U.S. aid to Ireland during the potato famine. Joel Turrill, U.S. consul to the Kingdom of Hawaii, reports on prospects for a treaty with that nation. Polk thanks scientist and entrepreneur Charles Goodyear for sending him vulcanized rubber products. The president writes to Mississippi politician Stephen Adams about prospects for peace in Mexico and the appointment of Jefferson Davis as a brigadier general. A. Lefognain, a free black man, seeks Polk’s help after losing the documents proving his freedom. Finally, the president writes to his wife, Sarah Childress Polk, about how much he misses her during her visit to Tennessee.

For letters written to Polk, the images here are of the original letters that he received. For those written by the president, they are of duplicates that he made with a copy press, the nineteenth-century precursor to the photocopy machine.

The complete volume 12, which includes transcriptions of 344 letters, detailed briefs of 10, and short calendar summaries of 638, can be accessed online for free, along with volumes 10 and 11, at newfoundpress.utk.edu/pubs/polk/books.html.

 

Polk to George Bancroft, January 30, 1847

Original Letter (Press Copy)
(Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston)

 

Uriah P. Levy to Polk, February 27, 1847

Original Letter
(James K. Polk Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.)

 

Joel Turrill to Polk, March 25, 1847

Original Letter
(James K. Polk Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.)

 

Polk to Charles Goodyear, March 29, 1847

Original Letter (Press Copy)
(James K. Polk Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.)

 

Polk to Stephen Adams, May 17, 1847

Original Letter (Press Copy)
(James K. Polk Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.)

 

Robert B. Forbes to Polk, May 18, 1847

Original Letter
(James K. Polk Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.)

 

A. Lefognain to Polk, June 26, 1847

Original Letter
(James K. Polk Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.)

 

Polk to Sarah Childress Polk, July 11, 1847

Original Letter (Press Copy)
(James K. Polk Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.)

 

 

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