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Inventory of the Thomas Jefferson Papers, 1764-1826
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Subject matter
  • Persons represented by four or more pieces
  • Important or interesting items
  • Physical description

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Thomas Jefferson Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1764-1826
    Creator: Jefferson, Thomas
    Extent: Approximately 800 pieces
    Repository: The Huntington Library
    San Marino, California 91108
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    Letters, documents, architectural drawings and surveys, account books and receipted bills from the papers of Thomas Jefferson, also letters addressed to him, constitute this collection. Two groups of manuscripts, both acquired through the George D. Smith Book Company, of New York, came into the library in 1916 and 1918. These, together with various individual items from sales of the American Art Association, the Anderson Galleries, B.A. Brown, Learmont, G. H. Hart, and others, have been interfiled and arranged in one chronological sequence.
    One of the two major groups of Jeffersoniana formerly belonged to Mr. William K. Bixby who secured them in 1912 from George P. Coleman, of Richmond, Va. These were largely published in 1916 in a limited edition, with notes by Worthington C. Ford.
    The second group apparently emanated from the heirs of Jefferson, though how Mr. Smith acquired them we do not know. The papers are, as far as we know, virtually unpublished. They comprise Mr. Jefferson's private correspondence, mostly with family and agents, and are largely office copies or drafts; some appear to have been made with the polygraph. The architectural drawings, etc. in this group dovetail with the famous Coolidge collection, but in no instance duplicates it.
    The library would welcome any information as to the provenance of this section of the Jefferson Collection.


    Collection is open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information please go to following URL .

    Publication Rights

    In order to quote from, publish, or reproduce any of the manuscripts or visual materials, researchers must obtain formal permission from the office of the Library Director. In most instances, permission is given by the Huntington as owner of the physical property rights only, and researchers must also obtain permission from the holder of the literary rights. In some instances, the Huntington owns the literary rights, as well as the physical property rights. Researchers may contact the appropriate curator for further information.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Thomas Jefferson Papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

    Subject matter

    Thomas Jefferson's private life
    • A. Attorney at law,
      Date: 1767-74
    • B. Administrator of the estates of Peter Jefferson and others
    • C. Farmer and business man: Letters addressed by Jefferson to his agents, John Barnes (31), Edmund Bacon (21), and others; also estimates, bills, and accounts.
      • 1. Tobacco, planting and selling
      • 2. Lands and slaves; estate management
      • 3. Horticultural interests and experiments
      • 4. Financial transactions
        • a. Attorney's fees
        • b. Plantation expenditures
        • c. Household maintenance
          • (1). Monticello
          • (2). The White House
        • d. Traveling expenses
        • e. Personal accounts
    • D. Surveyor, architect, and landscape gardener
      • 1. Surveys of Jefferson lands in Albemarle and Bedford Counties, Virginia, and neighboring estates
      • 2. Architectural drawings and specifications
        • a. Domestic: Floor plans, details, estimates, calculations, etc., for Monticello and other residences
        • b. Public buildings: Floor plans, etc., for the Capitol and Governor's house, Richmond, Va.; the "President's house," Washington; William & Mary College, Filliamsburg, Va.; Hotel Langeac, Paris; The University of Virginia
      • 3. Laying out the gardens at Monticello
    • E. Paterfamilias: Intimate letters written by Jefferson from Paris, Philadelphia, and Washington, to members of his family -- To Martha (Jefferson) Randolph (14); Thomas Mann Randolph (32); Ann Cary Randolph (4); Maria (Jefferson) Eppes (11); John Wayles Eppes (34); Francis Eppes (13); Mr. & Mrs. Francis Eppes, Senior (19); Martha (Jefferson) Carr (6)
    • F. Educator
      • 1. Jefferson's views on education as expressed in his letters having to do with the education of his grandson, Francis Eppes
      • 2. "Father of the University of Virginia"
        • a. Origin of an idea, meetings of the "Visitors"
        • b. Promotion of financial support
        • c. Campus and buildings
          • (1). Design, and supervision of construction
          • (2). Employment of workmen
          • (3). Estimates of costs, letting of contracts, control of funds
        • d. Selection of faculty; direction of curriculum; regulation of the library
        • e. Arbiter and final authority in all matters of precedent
        • f. Correspondence with subscribers, parents, students, and well-wishers

    Persons represented by four or more pieces

    Breckinridge, James
    4 pieces
    Brockenbrough, Arthur S.
    6 pieces
    Cocke, John Hartwell
    27 pieces
    Cummings, Hilliard, & Company
    14 pieces
    Dunglison, Robley
    6 pieces
    Emmet, John Patten
    4 pieces
    Garrett, Alexander
    7 pieces
    Jefferson, Thomas
    461 pieces
    Kean, John V.
    12 pieces
    Oldham, James
    5 pieces
    Patterson, John
    5 pieces
    Perry, John M.
    8 pieces
    Pleasants, James
    12 pieces
    Tucker, George
    4 pieces

    Important or interesting items

    • Jefferson, Thomas. Accounts,
      Date: 1761-1809.
      • 1.)
        Date: 1761-1793.
        Principally administration of estates: Peter Jefferson; Jane Jefferson; Bathurst Skelton; John Wayles. 1 vol.
      • 2.)
        Date: 1764-1779.
        Similar in content to the above. 1 vol.
      • 3.)
        Date: 1775.
        Daily accounts and memoranda (including the story of Logan) written in an interleaved almanac, entitled: The Virginia Almanack for the year 1775. Williamsburg. Printed by John Dixon and William Hunter at the Post Office. 1 vol.
      • 4.)
        Date: 1792-1793.
        Equipment accounts for farm and plantation, mostly for purchases of hardware. 1 vol., only partially autograph
      • 5.)
        Date: 1800-1818.
        Collection of miscellaneous bills, chiefly for supplies, during Jefferson's residence at the White House
      • 6.)
        Date: 1801-1824.
        Collection of notes, estimates, etc., comprising Jefferson's accounts with the Bank of the United States and the Columbia Bank
      • 7.)
        Date: 1802, Mar. 3.
        The President of the United States in account with John Barnes, 1801-1802
      • 8.)
        Date: 1805-1809.
        Household account book kept by E. Lemaire, Jefferson's chef at the White House. Monthly balances in Jefferson's hand. 1 vol.
    • Jefferson, Thomas. [Rough notes on points under consideration in the formulating of the twelfth amendment of the Constitution of the United States, and acts supplementary thereto.
      Date: c.1801]
    • Jefferson, Thomas. Letter to M. [André] Thouin, [of the Muséum d'Histoire Naturelle] "...With respect to my method of forming the mould-board the society of agriculture & yourself have given it more importance than it had occupied in my own eye... I have made a small alteration in the form of the toe of the mould-board which, while it preserves the principle untouched enables us to shorten the ploughshare six or eight inches... I send you a small box containing a model, which will be carried by the bearer of this letter to Paris. Proposing at the close of my present term (March 1809) to retire altogether from public affairs and to indulge myself in those pursuits more delightful to me, I may then perhaps be of some use to the Agricultural society...pretending however not to be an adept, but only a zealous amateur..." Washington,
      Date: Apr. 29, 1808
    • Jefferson, Thomas. Letter to John Wayles Eppes. "We are endeavoring to establish a college near Charlottesville called the central college, under the direction of 6 visitors. These are mr. Madison, Col o: Monroe, Gen l: Cooke, Joseph C. Cabell, mr. Watson of Louisa & myself. we are to meet on Monday next to set it agoing, mr. Madison & Col o. Monroe both promised me to be here, as well as the other gentlemen. we have purchased the land, and shall immediately build the pavilion for one professorship, that of languages, to be ready to receive pupils early in the spring..." Monticello,
      Date: May 1, [18]17
    • Jefferson, Thomas. Letter to the same. "...I am not of the school which teaches us to look back for wisdom to our forefathers. from the wonderful advances in science and the arts which I have lived to see, I am sure we are wiser than our fathers & that our sons will be wiser than we are." Monticello,
      Date: Feb. 6, [18]18
    • Jefferson, Thomas. Letter to Benjamin O. Tyler (Engraver). "...the Engraving you propose to publish of the Declaration of Independence will be an honorable monument to the memory of those who signed it, and with whom I was but a fellow-laborer, the sentiments it expresses were those of the whole body, and would have been better expressed by many of it's members. the dedication to myself therefore of this consecrated act of a band of venerated patriots, will be accepted for them all, and as an honor equally belonging to all. for the few of us remaining can vouch, I am sure, on behalf of those who have gone before us, that not withstanding the lowering aspect of the day, no hand trembled on affixing it's signature to that paper, and we may add for them, as well as for ourselves, that next to the consciousness of a duty faithfully discharged, the testimonials so often, and in so many forms repeated that the signers of that instrument have deserved well of their Country, are the highest rewards they or we could have received." Monticello,
      Date: Mar. 26, [18]18

    Physical description

    Originals or copies: Many of the earlier papers in this collection are press copies on tissue paper. These have been photostated for circulation, and the delicate originals removed from the file. Practically all of Jefferson's own writings are his own "office copies" usually in his own handwriting or from his polygraph writing machine.
    Parts of this machine are in the possession of the Huntington Library, together with working drawings, and explanations of individual parts written in Jefferson's own hand on small strips of paper.
    Letters addressed to Jefferson are all originals. All of the volumes in the collection are originals.