Correspondence of James K. Polk

Transcriptions, April 1848 – June 1849

Edited By Michael David Cohen.

Portrait of James K. Polk by by George P. A. Healy (1858)
James K. Polk

Portrait by George P. A. Healy (1858)
Credit: White House Collection/White House Historical Association.

The James K. Polk Project, an undertaking of the Department of History at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has produced thirteen hardcover volumes of the Correspondence of James K. Polk. Published by Vanderbilt University Press and the University of Tennessee Press, they render accessible the eleventh U.S. president’s incoming and outgoing letters from July 1817 to March 1848. No longer do students, scholars, or history enthusiasts need to travel to archives and decipher faint handwriting. Thousands of transcribed and annotated letters, plus summaries of all others, can be found on a single bookshelf. Furthermore, the first twelve volumes of the Correspondence are now available from Newfound Press, at no charge to the user, at

Now Newfound Press releases this resource on Polk’s final days. Work continues in 2019 on the fourteenth and final volume of the Correspondence. As the editor finishes that volume’s annotation and letter summaries, though, he sees no reason not to share the transcriptions. Here you can read 104 letters that Polk wrote and 260 that he received between April 1, 1848, and his death on June 15, 1849. They contain few notes, chiefly describing the texts, identifying enclosures, and citing other Polk letters referenced. But they are accurate, carefully proofread reproductions of the primary documents. This XML-based website renders them easily navigable, searchable, and copy-and-paste friendly. Thanks to the generosity of the Polk Project’s sponsors and the open-access commitment of Newfound Press, this electronic volume is—and will remain—completely free to the user.

National Archives: National Historical Publications & Records Commission
National Endowment for the Humanities