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

Murder at the Manhattan Well: The Personal and the Political in the Election of 1800

19Nov 5:15PM 2019

In 1800, journeyman carpenter, Levi Weeks, was accused of murdering Guliema Sands, a young woman living in the same boarding house. Using the trial transcript, this paper ...

Conversation; Housing as History

Housing as History: New Directions for Boston’s Subsidized Housing: Learning from the Past

20Nov 6:00PM 2019
There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30.

As neighborhoods across Boston face enormous development pressure, there is a risk that low-income residents will be forced out of the city. Social disruption due to ...

African American History Seminar

Mary Church Terrell’s Intersectional Black Feminism

21Nov 5:15PM 2019

Civil rights activist Mary Church Terrell (1863-1954) highlighted the intersections of race and sex in black women’s lives. This paper focuses on Terrell’s ...

From our Blog

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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