NEH Grant for the Buchanan Papers update 

UVA, James M. Buchanan papers, C0247, photographs, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

This past spring, the George Mason University Libraries received a grant in the amount of $334,720 from the National Endowment of the Humanities’ Humanities Collection and Reference Resources program for the “Preserving the Legacy of James M. Buchanan” project.  

Buchanan receiving Nobel Prize, James M. Buchanan papers, C0247, photographs, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

The purpose of this processing grant project is to preserve and make accessible the James M. Buchanan Papers—the largest and most significant holding in existence of primary source material related to the late Nobel laureate James M. Buchanan (1919-2013). The collection chronicles the professional and research work of Buchanan, an esteemed economist and Mason faculty member. Buchanan is well-known for his development of public choice theory, for which he received the 1986 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences. 

The work of the grant will take place over the next two years, with the Libraries’ communicating updates along the way. The project will produce a completely arranged and described collection, create a detailed finding aid and provide internship opportunities for Mason graduate and undergraduate students.  


The Special Collections Research Center will be advertising this fall to hire a Project Archivist to manage this project. This two-year faculty-rank term position will supervise a graduate student assistant and undergraduate students in the review, arrangement, housing, and description of the over 200 linear foot collection. The University Libraries’ are partnered with the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS) in financial support of the graduate and undergraduate students working on this project. This assistance will help the students gain experience working with primary source materials, and will directly help make sure this project is successful.  

In the midst of the pandemic, we know it will be a little more challenging to hold an interview! Our plan is to create a video tour of the physical space, so candidates are able to see where we work. The interview sessions will be held virtually, along with a presentation.   

GMU Photograph collection, R0120, Box 32, Folder 012, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

This collection, only partially accessible, is already well-used by researchers from around the world. We are greatly appreciative of the NEH funding, as the SCRC will now be able to concentrate the time and attention needed to make this rich resource available for research 

Follow SCRC on Social Media and look out for future posts on our FacebookInstagram, and Twitter accounts.  To search the collections held at Special Collections Research Center, go to our website and browse the finding aids by subject or title. You may also e-mail us at or call 703-993-2220 if you would like to schedule an appointment, request materials, or if you have questions.