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James Monroe papers

Identifier: Mss. 39.1 M75

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

Collection contains correspondence from 1783-1831, of James Monroe written from Richmond, Virginia while serving time as governor, Paris while minister to France, London while minister to Great Britain, from Washington, D. C. while Secretary of State, Secretary of War, and from Loudoun County, Virginia after serving as President. Also included is a penciled sketch of Monroe by John Vanderlyn. Subjects covered in the collection include diplomatic service, education (advice to his nephew), United States foreign relations with France and Great Britain; the Missouri Compromise; and slavery. Among the correspondents are John Quincy Adams, John C. Calhoun, Henry Lee, John Marshall, Timothy Pickering, St. George Tucker and Monroe's uncle, Joseph Jones and his nephew James Monroe.

Samuel L. Gouverneur correspondence remains in xerox copy form. The papers  in the collection starred with an asterisk (*) are included in the microfilm edition James Monroe Papers in Virginia Repositories.


  • Creation: 1776-1924
  • Creation: Majority of material found in 1783-1831


Conditions Governing Access:

Collection is open to all researchers. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, such as the Virginia Public Records Act (Code of Virginia. § 42.1-76-91); and the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (Code of Virginia § 2.2-3705.5). Confidential material may include, but is not limited to, educational, medical, and personnel records. If sensitive material is found in this collection, please contact a staff member immediately. The disclosure of personally identifiable information pertaining to a living individual may have legal consequences for which the College of William and Mary assumes no responsibility.

Conditions Governing Use:

Before reproducing or quoting from any materials, in whole or in part, permission must be obtained from the Special Collections Research Center, and the holder of the copyright, if not Swem Library.

Biographical Information:

James Monroe (April 28, 1758- July 4, 1831) was the fifth President of the United States (1817-1825). He played a leading role in the War of 1812 as secretary of war and secretary of state under James Madison. Monroe attended the College of William and Mary from 1774 through 1776.


2.50 Linear Feet



Acquisition Information:

The majority of the materials in this collection were purchased by Swem Library. Material was also donated by the APVA Headquarters (1969) and Mrs. and Mrs. Joseph Rubine (1978). Acc. 2007.102 gift of Maestro Russell Stanger on 11/15/2007. Acquisition information for material received after 7/13/2009 is available by consulting a Special Collections Research Center staff member. Acc. 2013.218 purchased for Swem Library with support from the Johns (Pollard) fund.


Additional accruals are expected as items are donated or purchased.

Related Materials:

Related collections are; the Monroe Papers, Ashlawn (Mss. Acc. 2003.09), Jay Johns Collection of James Monroe Papers (Mss. 68 M75), the Monroe Family Papers (Mss. 82 M75), and the James Monroe (1799-1870) Family Papers (Mss. 83 M75), all at Special Collections Research Center, Swem Library, College of William and Mary.

Physical Description

134 items

Processing Information:

Processed by Cynthia B. Brown in 1983. Box and folder list compiled by Amanda Hayek, SCRC staff, in November 2011. Acc. 2013.006 and 2013.007 accessioned by Ute Schechter, Warren E. Burger Archivist, in February 2013. Acc. 2013.218 accessioned and minimally processed by Steven Bookman, University Archives Specialist, in September 2013. Rehoused, guide updated, and digitized in 2018-2019, Karen King.

Guide to the James Monroe papers
Karen King, William & Mary Special Collections Research Center staff
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center Repository