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; Seminar; African American History Seminar

From Jobs and Freedom to Jobs and Opportunity: Andrew Young, Growth, and the Illusion of Job ...

4Mar 5:15PM 2021
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This paper considers Atlanta mayor Andrew Young’s shifting ideas about job creation and economic opportunity to investigate how Democrats abandoned their 1970s goal ...

Online Event; Seminar; Environmental History Seminar

Climate in Words and Numbers: How Early Americans Recorded Weather in Almanacs

9Mar 5:15PM 2021
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As we begin to consider climate as an everyday problem, it's valuable to see how people did that in the past. With support from the Guggenheim Foundation, Joyce Chaplin ...

Online Event; Conversation; Racial Injustice Series

Confronting Racial Injustice: Redlining: From Slavery to $8 in 400 Years

11Mar 6:00PM 2021
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In 2015, the Boston Federal Reserve found the median net worth for Black families in Boston was $8, in stark contrast to $250,000 for white families. This discrepancy is ...

From our Blog

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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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