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

Environmental History Seminar

Engineering, Politics, and Dams: John R. Freeman and San Francisco’s Hetch Hetchy Water Supply

12Nov 5:15PM 2019

San Francisco’s Hetch Hetchy Dam sparked one of America’s first great environmental controversies. This paper explores John R. Freeman’s work as a ...

Brown Bag

Staged Readings: Parlor Play and Contesting Class in Nineteenth-Century America

13Nov 12:00PM 2019

This talk focuses on the curious practice of nineteenth-century parlor theatricals in the United States. In the postbellum years, the country’s evolving middle ...

Conversation; Housing as History

Housing as History: the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative and Orchard Gardens

13Nov 6:00PM 2019
There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30.

By the 1980s the Dudley Square neighborhood of Roxbury was facing significant challenges. Absentee landlords had allowed property to deteriorate, left units vacant, or ...

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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