Cumberland University’s Papers of Martin Van Buren Project has received a bequest for $100,000 from Cynthia Van Buren, descendant of Martin Van Buren.

The Papers of Martin Van Buren Project is an ongoing project aiming to transcribe the surviving letters, speeches, papers and other documents from the eighth president making them digitized and easily accessible to the public.

This bequest will be used to provide internships to students, secure guest speakers for the Cumberland campus, fund research trips to obtain new documents and supplement staff salaries as needed.

“Ms. Van Buren was a generous philanthropist and we are extremely grateful that she chose to contribute to the Van Buren legacy at Cumberland,” said Vice President for Advancement Staci Galentine. “I had the privilege of meeting Cynthia and was in awe of her passion for giving back to the community around her. Her impact will be felt for generations to come.”

By transcribing Van Buren’s papers, including letters, speeches, notes and miscellaneous material, this project is providing insight into the evolution of formal politics and the changes in political culture that occurred in Van Buren’s lifetime. This project will help scholars, students and the general public understand the early development and maturation of United States politics for generations to come.

“Contributions such as this are essential to the continuation of this project,” said Mark Cheathem, project director and Cumberland University history professor. “We are always thankful for support of this important project, and especially grateful that a descendant of Van Buren himself is helping us to continue his legacy.”

The Papers of Martin Van Buren Project is sponsored by Cumberland University and the National Historical Publications and Records Commission and is produced in partnership with the Center for Digital Editing at the University of Virginia.

For more information about the Papers of Martin Van Buren Project, visit

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