Our Collection

At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 70,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Buchanan, James (1791-1868) to Harriet Buchanan

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC09367 Author/Creator: Buchanan, James (1791-1868) Place Written: s.l. Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 11 April 1831 Pagination: 2 p.

Summary of Content: The only U.S. president who never married, to his sister Harriet: "When you have determined (as I trust you will not) never to marry I shall cheerfully provide you a comfortable home. It would afford me great pleasure & promote my own comfort & happiness to have you for a house keeper. Still I think you ought to marry, should a favorable opportunity offer. There is nothing very desirable in the situation of an old maid; still it is less comfortless than that of an unhappy wife."


Historical Era: National Expansion and Reform, 1815-1860

Subjects: PresidentsChildren and FamilyMarriageWomen's History

Sub Era: Age of Jackson

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