Thomas Jefferson papers

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Collection Data

Description
Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) was a Founding Father, statesman, lawyer, and planter. He is considered the principal author of the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson held numerous political offices throughout his career including representative from Virginia in the Second Continental Congress, Governor of Virginia, Minister to France, Secretary of State under George Washington, Vice President of the United States under John Adams, and President of the United States from 1801-1809. The Thomas Jefferson papers, dated 1766-1826, cover Jefferson's career as a statesman, lawyer, and plantation owner. The bulk of the collection consists of outgoing correspondence, 1766 and 1783-1826, concerning Jefferson's thoughts on the formation of a new government, naval and shipping issues, the growth and sale of tobacco on his plantation, and personal and business matters. Correspondents include John Page, James Madison, James Monroe, Edmund Pendleton, Robert Purviance, and Noah Webster. Additional documents notably include Jefferson’s draft of a proposed amendment to the Constitution on the purchase of the Louisiana Territory, containing notes penciled by James Madison, as well as Jefferson's 1771 list of suggested books for a private library. Also present are legal documents, drafts, notes, and autographs.
Names
Jefferson, Thomas, 1743-1826 (Creator)
Brown, James, 1766-1835 (Addressee)
Jefferson, Thomas, 1743-1826 (Addressee)
Madison, James, 1751-1836 (Addressee)
Minor, Lancelot, 1763-1848 or 9 (Addressee)
Monroe, James, 1758-1831 (Addressee)
Page, John, 1744-1808 (Addressee)
Pendleton, Edmund, 1721-1803 (Addressee)
Purviance, Robert (Addressee)
Webster, Noah, 1758-1843 (Addressee)
Dates / Origin
Date Created: 1766 - 1826
Library locations
Manuscripts and Archives Division
Shelf locator: MssCol 1557
Topics
Diplomats
Lawyers
Statesmen
France -- Foreign relations -- United States
United States -- Foreign relations -- France
United States -- History -- Revolution, 1775-1783
United States -- Politics and government -- 1783-1865
Virginia -- History -- 1775-1865
Virginia -- Politics and government -- 1775-1865
Louisiana Purchase
Presidents -- United States
Genres
Documents
Correspondence
Certificates
Patents
Notes
Biographical/historical: Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) was a Founding Father, statesman, lawyer, and planter. He is considered the principal author of the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson held numerous political offices throughout his career. He represented Virginia in the Second Continental Congress, served as Governor of Virginia from 1779-1781 and as Minister to France from 1785-1789. He was the first Secretary of State under George Washington, and the second Vice President of the United States under John Adams. He was elected the third President of the United States in 1800, serving two terms, 1801-1809. After leaving the presidency, Jefferson founded and helped design the campus of the University of Virginia. He resided at Monticello, his estate in Albemarle County, Virginia.
Content: The Thomas Jefferson papers, dated 1766-1826, cover Jefferson's career as a statesman, lawyer, and plantation owner. It is a synthetic collection of largely autograph material, combining gifts and purchases from multiple sources. The bulk of the collection consists of outgoing correspondence, 1766 and 1783-1826, with a few incoming letters. Letters concern Jefferson's thoughts on the formation of a new government, naval and shipping issues, the growth and sale of tobacco on his plantation, and personal and business matters. Correspondents include John Page, James Madison, James Monroe, Edmund Pendleton, Robert Purviance, and Noah Webster. Additional documents in the collection consist of legal documents, drafts, notes, autographs and other items. Correspondence dating prior to his appointment as Secretary of State in 1790, including letters to Edmund Pendleton of Virginia, pertain primarily to the development of government in the newly sovereign United States, foreign intelligence, the shipment of goods to and from the West Indies, and his service as Minister to France and his travels to France. Letters dated while he held the office of Secretary of State consist mostly of notices of acts of Congress that were sent to state governors. These notices originally contained enclosures of legislation which are not present here. Some personal correspondence from this era is also present, notably a 1790 letter to Noah Webster offering his opinions on Webster's essays. Correspondence dating from his presidential and vice presidential tenures consists mainly of outgoing invitations and letters of thanks. Letters discussing Jefferson's business affairs, particularly the management of his plantation, the growth and sale of tobacco, and his legal work are interspersed throughout the correspondence, especially during the late presidential and post-presidential period. An 1817 letter to James Monroe is a letter of recommendation, and his 1826 letter to Madison concerns the growth of the University of Virginia. The collection also contains earlier letters documenting Jefferson's friendships with Virginia governor John Page and Robert Purviance of Maryland. Additional documents notably include Jefferson’s draft of a proposed amendment to the Constitution adding the Louisiana Territory to the United States. The draft contains notes penciled by James Madison and offers insight into constitutional aspects of the Louisiana Purchase. Also of note is Jefferson's 1771 list of books for a private library, suggested for his friend Robert Skipworth.
Funding: Digitization was made possible by a lead gift from The Polonsky Foundation.
Physical Description
Extent: 1.86 linear feet (1 box, 1 oversized folder)
Type of Resource
Text
Identifiers
MSS Unit ID: 1557
NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b12396674
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 92b8aa40-9a91-0132-06d3-58d385a7b928
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