Massachusetts Historical Society
Thomas Jefferson Papers: an electronic archive

Thomas Jefferson
1789 Catalog of Books, [manuscript], [circa 1789]
From the collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston, Massachusetts.

Jefferson's Classification Scheme for the 1789 Catalog of Books

Jefferson arranged his 1789 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.

Below is a list of chapters and subject categories used by Jefferson in this book 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 12, "Zoology," starts on page 21 but continues on the top of page 20. To assist in navigation, directional notes and links have been added to such pages.



History
Chap. 1 Ancient history pages 1 and 2
Chap. 2 Modern history, Foreign pages 5, 4, 6-7
Chap. 3 Modern history, British page 9
Chap. 4 Modern history, American pages 13 and 12
Chap. 5 Ecclesiastical History page 17

Philosophy
Chap. 6 Cosmology page 17
Chap. 7 Agriculture pages 18 and 19 [top]
Chap. 8 Chemistry page 18
Chap. 9 Surgery page 18
Chap. 10 Medicine pages 18 and 19 [bottom]
Chap. 11 Anatomy page 18
Chap. 12 Zoology pages 21 and 20 [top]
Chap. 13 Botany pages 21 and 20 [middle]
Chap. 14 Mineralogy page 21
Chap. 15 Technical arts pages 22 and 23 [top]
Chap. 16 Ethics, Ethics proper pages 22, 23 [bottom half], 24
Ethics, Natural law of nations page 27
Ethics, Conventional law of nations page 27
Chap. 17 Religion pages 28 and 29 [top]
Chap. 18 Equity page 28
Chap. 19 Common law page 28
Chap. 20 Law, mercantile page 28
Chap. 21 Law, maritime pages 28 and 29 [bottom]
Chap. 22 Ecclesiastical law page 28
Chap. 23 Foreign law pages 31 and 30 [top]
Chap. 24 Politics pages 31, 30 [bottom], 32-35
Chap. 25 Commerce pages 36 and 37 [top]
Chap. 26 Arithmetic pages 36 and 37 [middle]
Chap. 27 Geometry page 36
Chap. 28 Mechanics, Statistics, Pneumatics, Phonics and Optics page 36
Chap. 29 Astronomy pages 39 and 38 [top]
Chap. 30 Geography pages 39 and 38 [middle]
Geography, Asia pages 40 and 41 [top]
Geography, Africa pages 40 and 41 [middle]
Geography, North America pages 40, 41 [bottom half], 43 [top]
Geography, South America pages 43 and [42]
Geography, Islands page 43 [bottom]

Fine Arts
Chap. 31 Gardening page 44 [top]
Chap. 32 Architecture pages 44 [towards top] and 45 [top]
Chap. 33 Sculpture page 44 [middle]
Chap. 34 Painting pages 44 [middle], 45 [middle]
[Chap. 35] [Music, Theory] [no entries for Ch. "35," but see p. 44, bottom]
Chap. 36 [Music, Vocal] page 44 [bottom]
[Chap. 37] [Music, Instrumental] [no entries for Ch. "37," but see p. 44, bottom]
Chap. 38 [Poetry, Epic] pages 46 [top], 47 [top]
Chap. 39 [Poetry, Romance] pages 46 [top], 47 [top]
Chap. 40 [Poetry, Tragedy] page 47 [middle]
Chap. 41 [Poetry, Comedy] pages 46 [middle], 47 [middle]
Chap. 42 [Poetry, Dramatic--Pastoral, Odes, Elegies] pages 46 [bottom], 47 [bottom], 50 [middle]
Chap. 43 [Poetry, Didactic] pages 46 [bottom], 47 [bottom], 50 [top]
Chap. 44 [Oratory] pages 48 [top], 49 [top]
Chap. 45 [Criticism] pages 48 [middle], 49 [middle]
Chap. 46 [Polygraphical] pages 48 [bottom], 49 [bottom]

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