Massachusetts Historical Society

Thomas Jefferson Papers

Notes of the State of Virginia Manuscript

Guide to web display 

Navigating the page display  

Option 1: When you mouse over the manuscript page the pointer changes to a four-way arrow icon for moving manuscript (on some Macintosh browsers, this will appear as a hand). Click and drag the manuscript image to pan up, down and across the entire page.

img of key Option 2: Open the Key by clicking the triangle in the bottom right-hand corner of the display. Click and drag the viewfinder to pan up, down and across the entire manuscript page. Note that the viewfinder is only visible at the 100% zoom level.

Zoom option  

To zoom in or out of a manuscript page use the Zoom option in the top right-hand corner of the display.

To see an extra large image (280%) click on the magnifier icon that appears in the top left-hand corner when you mouse over each full page or attachment. Please note that extra large images lack the normal functionality of the interface at the 100% view.


Labeling on the page  

Attachment Labels

Each full page and each attachment has a colored label that resembles a post-it note attached to the top left-hand corner. These only serve as labels, there are no actions associated with these labels.

Dotted colored outlines

A dotted outline appears when you remove an attachment and indicates the area obscured by the part of the attachment that was affixed to the full page. There are no actions associated with the outline.


Jefferson used reference marks within a page to add footnotes to his text. The * (asterisk) and (dagger) were used most frequently. The (double dagger) and § (section symbol) are used only once or twice. Each reference mark signifies a footnote pointer (within the text) or a footnote destination (at the bottom of the page or in the margin). Each reference mark is highlighted with a green square that is ONLY visible at 100% viewing. Dragging the mouse over the green square reveals a pop-up message describing the location of the corresponding reference mark. The green square is not a link. There are no actions associated with footnotes.


Each endnote in the manuscript, designated by a superscript number, is highlighted with a blue square that is ONLY visible at 100% viewing. Clicking on the blue square within the text will send you to the appendix page with the corresponding endnote. Clicking on the blue square within the appendix will return you to the text page with the corresponding endnote.


The Key  

img of key The Key is an aid for navigating each manuscript page. It can be found in the bottom right-hand corner and can be left opened or closed. When the Key is open, all actions taken within it are reflected in the viewport. For example, clicking and dragging the viewfinder (red box) enables panning up, down and across the entire manuscript page. The "remove/restore" and "flip up/flip down" links are the tools for handling attachments and are only visible for pages with attachments. Note that the viewfinder is only visible at the 100% zoom level. setting


Handling Attachments  

Option 1: When you mouse over the display, icons will appear. Click directly on the flip-up icon that appears at the bottom of each attachment in the viewport. To flip the attachment back down click on the flip-down icon visible at the top of each attachment.

To remove the attachment entirely click on the icon provided on the upper-right-hand corner of each attachment. The remove icon changes to , which you can click to restore the removed attachment.

Option 2: Within the Key click on the "flip-up/flip-down" or "remove/restore" button.


Explanation of page components  

Link to a separate window showing all the components that make up a particular page. This feature is available only if the manuscript page includes one or more attachments.


Related documents  

The link for "Related documents" is visible in two places- in the Header just above the page image and towards the bottom of the website just below the page image. If this link is not visible it means that there are no related documents for that particular page.

These documents were part of Jefferson's research for Notes and can be viewed individually by clicking on the appropriate link. Please note, when you click to view a "Related document" you will be taken to a different part of the Massachusetts Historical Society website. When you are finished reading the document please click on your browser's "Back" button to return to the Notes website.


Navigating the manuscript  

Navigate through the manuscript page by page using either the prev/next arrow buttons or the provided page numbers. To jump to a specific page type a number directly into the box.

About page i

Thomas Jefferson wrote out this table of contents after the publication of the manuscript. The handwritten page numbers correspond to the page numbers of the first published edition of Notes on the State of Virginia (Paris, [1785]). Mousing over each query (chapter) name displays a blue box and prompts an informational pop-up box stating the corresponding page number of the manuscript. Click within the appropriate blue box to jump to the first page of the query. Please keep in mind the query may begin on or under an attachment.


Web site navigation  

Notes home

Link to the introductory page of the Notes website. Offers links to browse options, the search tool, a description of the manuscript, and additional features of the web presentation.


Drop-down menu for various help features:

  • Tutorial An interactive guide to page 5 which explains how to use the website features.
  • Guide to web display this page.
  • Browser requirements A list of browsers recommended for optimal viewing of this website.
  • Troubleshooting A list of common display issues and FAQs.


Link to search the entire manuscript for specific words or phrases. Note: The search results are not highlighted within the manuscript display, nor is the user directed to the exact spot on the manuscript where the word or phrase appears.

Thomas Jefferson Papers

Link to the home page of the Thomas Jefferson Papers: An Electronic Archive, a digital collection featuring selections of Jefferson manuscripts within the collections of the MHS.

MHS home

Link to the Massachusetts Historical Society's home page where you can select from lists of MHS web resources, access information about departments and activities, and link to ABIGAIL, our bibliographic catalog.