A Guide to the Andrew Jackson Donelson, 1844-1846
Soldier, lawyer, politician, and diplomat Andrew Jackson Donelson (1799-1871) was born in Nashville, Tennessee, to Samuel and Mary Donelson. After his father's death and his mother's remarriage, Donelson moved to the Hermitage, the Nashville home of his aunt and namesake uncle, Rachel Donelson and Andrew Jackson. Donelson served as General Jackson's aide-de-camp during the First Seminole War. A West Point Salutatorian, Donelson resigned from the army shortly after the Seminole campaign and studied law at Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky. In 1823, Donelson returned to Nashville to practice law and married his first cousin, Emily Tennessee Donelson (1807-1836). The Donelsons lived in Washington with President Jackson for most of his two terms while building their home, Tulip Grove, adjacent to the Hermitage. Donelson served as the president's private secretary, and Emily acted as the official hostess of the White House. Emily died in 1836, leaving four small children. Donelson remarried five years later and had eight more children with Elizabeth Martin Randolph.
After Donelson's return to Nashville, President John Tyler selected him to negotiate the annexation of Texas in 1844. His success led to Donelson’s appointment as minister to Prussia from 1846 to 1849. In 1851, he became editor of the Democratic newspaper Washington Union, but left this position as the party moved toward sectionalism. Donelson’s national political career ended in 1856 with an unsuccessful campaign for vice-president on the Millard Fillmore ticket, supported by the Know-Nothing Party. In 1858, Donelson sold Tulip Grove and moved his family and law practice to Memphis, where he remained active in local politics.
Wells, Camille. “Andrew Jackson Donelson, 1799-1871.” The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture. Accessed November 15, 2010.
Consisting of two printed items, the Andrew Jackson Donelson Papers, 1844-1846, document the career of Donelson as a United States diplomat. The collection includes Donelson’s commission as Chargé d’Affaires to the Republic of Texas (1844), establishing his role negotiating its annexation, and a fragment of a letter of introduction (1846) from his role as U. S. Envoy to Prussia.
This collection is open for research use.
Andrew Jackson Donelson Papers, 1844-1846, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
This collection was processed by Claire Maxwell, 1985.
Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light project, 2009-2011.
Detailed Description of the Papers