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

Online Event

The First Reconstruction: Black Politics in America from the Revolution to the Civil War

17May 5:30PM 2021
This is an online program

It may be difficult to imagine that a consequential black electoral politics evolved in the United States before the Civil War, for as of 1860, the overwhelming majority ...

Online Event; Conversation; Racial Injustice Series

Confronting Racial Injustice: The War on Drugs in Massachusetts: The Racial Impact of the School ...

19May 6:00PM 2021
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In the 1980s, Massachusetts embraced the War on Drugs, enacting harsh mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenses. It took decades to confront the reality ...

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Of Thee I Sing: The Contested History of American Patriotism

26May 5:30PM 2021
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When we talk about patriotism in America, we tend to mean one form: the version captured in shared celebrations like the national anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance. But ...

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This Week @MHS

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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