Cumberland University launches project on Martin Van Buren

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Cumberland University is launching a major national project Monday — in time for Washington's Birthday — on the papers of Martin Van Buren. Van Buren was the eighth president of the U.S., serving from 1837 to 1841.

The university will hold a press conference Monday to talk about the project that involves posting online more than 13,000 of Van Buren's documents, including his speeches and letters. Cumberland University history professor Mark Cheathem, who will serve as project director, says some heavy lifting is involved, since Van Buren's handwriting was notoriously illegible.

Prior to serving as president, Van Buren served as Andrew Jackson's vice president. A shrewd politician, Van Buren was one of the founders of the Democratic Party and is considered an architect of the modern-day political campaign.