The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 93, July 1989 - April, 1990 Page: 422
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Pp. iv+768. Introduction, acknowledgments, appendices, sources,
The Papers of Jefferson Davis project, begun nearly three decades
ago by the Jefferson Davis Association and William Marsh Rice Univer-
sity, is averaging about one volume every four or five years. Volume 5,
for example, appeared in 1985. Part of the explanation for this pace
may be that this is among the most carefully edited of the "Papers
of.. ." publications. The project began with Frank E. Vandiver's dream
to provide a definitive collection of the Confederate president's papers.
Vandiver is still with the project as president of the Association's Board
of Directors and chief advisory editor, and he chairs its Board of Ad-
visory Editors. In the meantime, the project has been supervised by
such editors as Haskell M. Monroe (now chancellor of the University of
Missouri) and James T. McIntosh. Lynda Lasswell Crist has edited the
last three volumes, the last two with coeditor Mary Seaton Dix.
Volume 6 would appear to be similar to preceding volumes in for-
mat, but there is a significant difference. Previous volumes have at-
tempted to include all Davis materials. The present volume does not do
that. The editors explain that there are approximately 12,9oo Davis
items from 1856-186o, and because of the offices he held, many of
them were form responses and therefore do not contribute to the goal
of the project. Over half of the eligible material was eliminated, but ap-
proximately 6,ooo items are calendared in Volume 6, and 116 (99 by
Davis) are printed with annotation. Additionally, 55 items, (13 of them
by Davis), are summarized in Appendix 2. The calendar of materi-
als and the printed documents share about equally the book's nearly
Robert W. Johannsen contributed an excellent introduction that
places Davis in the context of the decade from which the included ma-
terials were drawn. He presents Davis as a defender of his section and
of slavery who reluctantly accepted the necessity of secession to pre-
serve the society he loved. During this period Davis quarreled more
within his party, particularly with Stephen A. Douglas over "squatter
sovereignty," than outside of it. He apparently assumed that "Black Re-
publicans" were beyond argument and concentrated on saving the
saveable in the hope that it included the Union. In the end he accepted
separation. The final printed document, addressed "To Our Constitu-
ents" from Washington on December 14, 1860, states in part: "The argu-
ment is exhausted. All hope of relief in the Union through the agency
of committees, congressional legislation or constitutional amendments,
is extinguished .... We are satisfied that the honor, safety, and inde-
pendence of the Southern people require the organization of a South-
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 93, July 1989 - April, 1990, periodical, 1990; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101213/m1/478/: accessed August 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.