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

Author Talk; Online Event

The Last Brahmin: Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. and the Making of the Cold War

21Sep 5:30PM 2020
This is an online program

A key figure in American foreign policy for three decades, Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. of Massachusetts, a well-heeled Eastern Establishment Republican, put duty over ...

Pauline Maier Early American History Seminar; Online Event

“The Horrid Deeds of our Enemies”

22Sep 5:15PM 2020
This is an online program

The American Revolution was waged not only on the battlefield, but in the realm of culture. American homes and the wartime violence within them—particularly ...

Online Event; Author Talk

Monument Man: The Life and Art of Daniel Chester French

23Sep 5:30PM 2020
This is an online program

Daniel Chester French is America's best-known sculptor of public monuments, having created the statue for the Lincoln Memorial, the John Harvard statue, and The Minute ...

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 ...

Read more from our blog

Have you seen?