The Library of Congress National Digital Library Program and the
Manuscript Division announce the second release of The Thomas Jefferson
Papers at the Library of Congress on the American Memory Collections Web
site at http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/mtjhtml/mtjhome.html
The first release in April 1999 included the first installment of Series
1, General Correspondence and Series 8, Virginia Records. This second
release completes presentation of all nine series of the Thomas
The Jefferson Papers at the Library of Congress consists of
approximately twenty-seven thousand items organized into nine series.
Among these series are General Correspondence, Commonplace Books,
Account Books, a "District of Columbia Miscellany" relating to the
building and design of the new federal city, and a Miscellaneous Volumes
General Correspondence, comprising almost two-thirds of the Papers,
includes letters, memoranda, notes, drafts of documents, small maps,
drawings, and designs. The Commonplace Books series consists of
Jefferson's legal and literary compilations. His legal commonplace book
includes extracts related to important legal cases and precedents that
served as a reference during his law practice. An alphabetical list of
legal terms and definitions, undoubtedly compiled while Jefferson was a
law student of George Wythe, is entered in reverse form at the back of
the book. Jefferson's literary commonplace book is the only direct
documentary evidence of his youthful education and literary interests.
Jefferson extracted quotations from a wide variety of books that were
either assigned by his teachers or caught his inquiring eye.
Among the Miscellaneous Volumes series are Jefferson's plantation and
household accounts, his Manual of Parliamentary Practice, and his "Life
and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth." Four years of accounts occupy part of
a volume of Jefferson's notes on legal cases heard in the Virginia
General Court for the April and October 1768 and April 1769 terms. The
accounts include a section in the hand of Martha Wayles Skelton
Jefferson (1748-1782), wife of Thomas Jefferson, and another in the hand
of Anne Cary Randolph, Thomas Jefferson's granddaughter. Anne Cary
Randolph carefully recorded the transactions of purchases from
Jefferson's slaves, neighborhood slaves, and local free whites for the
use of the household, providing a unique view of the interaction of
plantation mistresses, slaves, and free white women at Monticello.
Searchable transcriptions of Anne Cary Randolph's accounts to accompany
digital images of the manuscript pages have been provided by Gerard W.
Gawalt, Library of Congress Manuscript Division subject specialist for
the Jefferson Papers.
The first (1801) edition of Jefferson's A Manual of Parliamentary
Practice: For the Use of the Senate of the United States includes his
handwritten corrections and annotations. "The Life and Morals of Jesus
of Nazareth" is a facsimile reproduction of the original in the National
Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution. Jefferson used
excerpts from the New Testament in four languages to create a
compilation of what he considered to be Jesus' authentic actions and
teachings. He probably prepared "The Life and Morals of Jesus of
Nazareth" in 1820.
Jefferson wrote in a small but very legible hand. However, many of his
documents are characterized by bleed-through of text from the verso, and
his papers generally bear more than the usual marks of time, such as
damage from humidity, wear, and handling. In addition, Jefferson used a
letterpress to retain copies of outgoing correspondence. These were made
by laying damp tissue against the ink side of a manuscript leaf and then
pressing the damp tissue down on a new leaf. These copies have a
distinctive appearance. The pen strokes appear thicker and the blurred
appearance results from smudging that occurred during the letterpressing
process. To the extent possible, transcriptions for correspondence have
been provided from copyright-available editions of Jefferson's writings.
Transcriptions for Jefferson's years-long correspondence with William
Short have been provided by Gerard W. Gawalt.
This release of The Thomas Jefferson Papers includes two new special
presentations. The first is "Thomas Jefferson Time Line: Selected
Highlights," which provides a rich array of digital images with links
into the more detailed texts of the larger Time Line. The second is "The
Jamestown Records of the Virginia Company of London: A Conservator's
Perspective," by Sylvia R. Albro and Holly H. Krueger, Senior Paper
Conservators at the Library of Congress. This essay tells the remarkable
story of how the Series 8, Virginia Records originally collected by
Jefferson for their historical importance were rescued from
disintegration. It reminds us that the online presentation of historical
documents is dependent on the vital work of physical conservation.
Please direct any questions about the new release of the Thomas
Jefferson Papers to firstname.lastname@example.org
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