Massachusetts Historical Society
Thomas Jefferson Papers: an electronic archive

Thomas Jefferson
1783 Catalog of Books, [manuscript], [circa 1775-1812]
From the collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston, Massachusetts.

Jefferson's Classification Scheme for the 1783 Catalog of Books

Jefferson arranged his 1783 Catalog of Books into three sections--History, Philosophy, and Fine Arts--adapted from Francis Bacon's three categories of knowledge: Memory, Reason, and Imagination. Within Jefferson's three main divisions, he subdivided his catalog into 46 chapters.

Jefferson outlined his classification scheme on pages 10, 11, and 12 of the 1783 Catalog of Books.

Below is a list of the chapters and subject categories that Jefferson used in his catalog, with links to the corresponding pages. Occasionally a chapter starts on an odd-numbered page, but continues on the facing page preceding it. For example, Chapter 25, "Commerce," starts on page 153 but continues on page 152. To assist in navigation, directional notes and links have been added to such pages.



History
Chap. 1 Antient [Ancient] history pages 14 - 25
Chap. 2 Modern history, Foreign pages 26 - 35
Chap. 3 [Modern history,] British pages 36 - 48
Chap. 4 [Modern history,] American pages 50 - 53
Chap. 5 Ecclesiastical page 54

Philosophy
Chap. 6 Natural Philosophy page 55
Chap. 7 Agriculture pages 56-59
Chap. 8 Chemistry pages 60-61
Chap. 9 Surgery page 61
Chap. 10 Medicine pages 62-67
Chap. 11 Natural History, I. Animals, Anatomy pages 68-69
[Chap. 12 not listed by Jefferson]
Chap. 13 [Natural History,] II. Vegetables, Botany pages 70-71
Chap. 14 [Natural History,] III. Minerals, Mineralogy Geology pages 72-73
Chap. 15 Technical Arts pages 74-76
Chap. 16 Ethics pages 77-85
Chap. 17 Religion pages 88-97
Chap. 18 Equity pages 98-101
Chap. 19 Common law pages 102-127
Chap. 20 Law, merchant pages 128 [top] - 129 [top]
Chap. 21 Law, maritime pages 128 [middle] - 129 [middle]
Chap. 22 Law, ecclesiastical pages 130-131
Chap. 23 Foreign law pages 132-134
Chap. 24 Politics, general theory pages 135-138
[Politics] England, Constitution pages 139-140
[Politics] England, Parliament pages 141-148
[Politics] England, Dependencies pages 149-152
Chap. 25 Commerce pages 153 and 152 [middle]
Chap. 26 Mathematics pure, arithmetic page 154
Chap. 27 Geometry page 155
Chap. 28 Physics, mathematics, mechanics, statistics, dynamics, pneumatics page 156
Chap. 29 Astronomy page 157
Chap. 30 Geography, general pages 158-159
Geography, Europe pages 160-163
Geography, Asia page 164 [top]
Geography, Africa pages 164 [middle] - 165
Geography, America pages 166-173

Fine arts
Chap. 31 Fine Arts, 1. Gardening pages 174-175
Chap. 32 [Fine Arts,] 2. Architecture pages 176-178
Chap. 33 [Fine Arts,] 3. Sculpture page 180
Chap. 34 [Fine Arts,] 4. Painting pages 182-184
[Fine Arts, 4. cont.] Prints page 186
Chap. 35 [Fine Arts,] 5. Music, theory pages 188-189
Chap. 36 [Music,] vocal pages 190-192
Chap. 37 [Music,] instrumental pages 194-197
Chap. 38 Poetry, Epic pages 198-200
Chap. 39 [Poetry,] Romance pages 202-205
Chap. 40 [Poetry,] Tragedy pages 206-207
Chap. 41 [Poetry,] Comedy pages 208-210
[Poetry,] [Comedy, Dialog] page 211
Chap. 42 [Poetry, Dramatic] Pastoral, Odes, Elegies pages 212-217
Chap. 43 [Poetry,] Didactic pages 220-225
Chap. 44 Oratory pages 226-228
Chap. 45 Criticism pages 230-241
Chap. 46 Polygraphical pages 242-243
Mathematical apparatus page 244

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