Thomas Jefferson Papers

The Coolidge Collection of Thomas Jefferson Manuscripts at the Massachusetts Historical Society is the largest collection of private papers kept by the third president of the United States (the Library of Congress holds the majority of Jefferson's public papers). In 1898 Jefferson's great-grandson, Thomas Jefferson Coolidge (1831-1920) of Boston, presented a large number of Jefferson papers to the MHS. This material included correspondence (incoming correspondence and Jefferson's retained copies of outgoing correspondence, a total of about 8,000 letters), manuscript volumes including his Garden and Farm Books--the records of Monticello and his other properties--almanacs, accounts, law treatises, and the manuscript volume listing the books in Jefferson's personal library. Later Jefferson and Coolidge descendants added about 400 of Jefferson's architectural drawings and sketches to the collection. The MHS also holds a manuscript copy of the Declaration of Independence written by Jefferson, an 1893 gift from Mr. and Mrs. Arthur C. Washburn.

For more information about the Coolidge Collection of Thomas Jefferson Manuscripts, see the collection guide. The entire manuscript collection is available on microfilm.

Jefferson Papers Online

Thomas Jefferson Papers: An Electronic Archive presents digital images and searchable transcriptions of a selection of Jefferson's personal papers, including his Farm and Garden Books, the manuscript of Notes on the State of Virginia, his only full-length published work, and his handwritten copy of the Declaration of Independence.  The website also features digital images of Jefferson's architectural drawings and sketches of two of his library catalogs.   

Upcoming Events

Pauline Maier Early American History Seminar

POSTPONED: “Our Turn Next”: Slavery and Freedom on French and American Stages, 1789-99

7Apr 5:15PM 2020

As the French abolitionist movement gathered momentum alongside the Revolution, Parisians could have seen hundreds of theatrical performances on themes related to race ...

Environmental History Seminar

POSTPONED: “Contrary to the Rules and Maxims of the Law and Nation”: The Destruction of Colonial ...

9Apr 5:15PM 2020

Long before industrialization, New Englanders dammed their rivers. The dams that powered saw and grist mills saved farmers days of backbreaking labor, but they also ...

Author Talk; Online Event

Virtual Book Talk: When It Was Grand: The Radical Republican History of the Civil War

10Apr 2:00PM 2020
This is an online event

In 1862, abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison summarized the Civil War: “There is a war because there was a Republican Party. There was a Republican Party because ...

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