A Magazine for the George Mason University Community

Preserving the Buchanan Legacy

By Mason Spirit contributor on August 18, 2020

The George Mason University Libraries received a $334,720 grant from the National Endowment of the Humanities’ (NEH) Humanities Collection and Reference Resources program for “Preserving the Legacy of James M. Buchanan.”

George Mason University Nobel laureate James M. Buchanan. Photo by George Mason University

The project’s purpose is to preserve and make accessible the extensive James M. Buchanan Papers—the largest and most significant holding in existence of unique, primary source material related to the late Nobel laureate James M. Buchanan (1919–2013). The archive, held in the Libraries’ Special Collections Research Center (SCRC), chronicles the legacy 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. A building on the Fairfax Campus is named for Buchanan.

The work of the grant will take place over the next two years, with University 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.

“Preserving primary source materials such as the Buchanan Collection and providing access to them are key to the mission of SCRC and the Mason Libraries overall,” says University Librarian John Zenelis. “We are pleased to receive the endorsement of our colleagues in Mason’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences for this project and the validation of the NEH on the importance of this work to the nation and beyond.”

“CHSS students have gained valuable experience from employment with the libraries, and working with a collection of this significance opens up remarkable opportunities for them,” says Ann Ardis, dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. “CHSS looks forward to such a valuable and essential resource being available to future scholars.”

—Jessica Clark


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