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

Brown Bag; Research Fellow

The Ordeal of Homecoming: Northern Civilians and Union Veterans

30Aug 12:00PM 2019

Recent studies of Union veterans hold that northern civilians were eager to forget the Civil War, ignorant of the plight of the veteran, and inept in their few attempts ...

Conversation; Legacies of 1619

Legacies of 1619: Recognition & Resilience

7Sep 4:00PM 2019
There will be a pre-talk reception at 3:30.

The institution of slavery in English North America began in 1619 with the arrival of roughly 20 Africans in the settlement of Jamestown. What has followed has been 400 ...

Author Talk

Properties of Empire: Indians, Colonists, & Land Speculators on the New England Frontier

10Sep 6:00PM 2019
There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30.

Properties of Empire challenges assumptions about the relationship between Indigenous and imperial property creation in early America. Many colonists came to believe ...

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Join us for a program this week! Here is a look at what is going on: - Tuesday, 29 January, 5:15 PM: Better Teaching through Technology, 1945-1969, with Victoria Cain, Northeastern ...

Founder to Founder

Like so many good stories here at the Historical Society, it began with a reference question. Jeremy Belknap, hunting through his sources, asked Vice President John Adams for some help. Belknap, the ...

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