There are numerous Jefferson-related historical sites, websites, and electronic resources, many with similar names and overlapping materials. This list is meant to help users start their search for more information on Jefferson and his world.
While print editions provide opportunities to annotate, preserve, and share original documents, printed books by nature limit the way historical documents can be presented. Digital exhibits offer us the opportunity to step out of the printed box and display information and images in other formats.
Explore the pages below to see manuscript images and documents from Jefferson collections presented with contextual information, interactive transcriptions, visualizations, and other additional features.
Major Jefferson Manuscript Repositories
The published Papers of Thomas Jefferson (Princeton University Press) are drawn from original manuscripts held by the following repositories, as well as by many other large and small collections. For the most comprehensive and scholarly collection of Jefferson’s transcribed correspondence, see The Papers of Thomas Jefferson (print edition: Princeton University Press or digital edition: UVa Press/Rotunda). The following list is compiled as a reference for those who might wish to see the original manuscripts or to help clarify the holdings of some of the larger archival collections of Jefferson materials. Consult library and archives websites for the most up-to-date finding aids and descriptions of their Jefferson holdings and online availability.
Monticello is both a historic place and an essential site for information about Jefferson the man, his Charlottesville, Virginia, plantation home, and the people—free and enslaved—who lived and worked there. Their website includes links to lesson plans, famous (and spurious) quotations, the Thomas Jefferson Encyclopedia, Jefferson’s library database, plantation database, and the Thomas Jefferson Retirement Series, which publishes the Jefferson correspondence from 4 March 1809 until his death in 1826 as well as family letters from 1809 to 1873.
In 1815, the Library of Congress purchased more than 6,000 books in Jefferson’s library as the basis for its own recreated collection. As part of the bicentennial commemoration of Jefferson’s birth, the Library of Congress commissioned E. Millicent Sowerby to catalog and describe the contents of Jefferson’s library. This crucial bibliographic tool, Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson; Compiled with Annotations by E. Millicent Sowerby, was published as a five-volume edition between 1952 and 1959. It is available digitally through the Library of Congress in facsimile scans of the catalogue pages and a separately constructed index. Monticello also has a transcribed searchable electronic version as well through its Thomas Jefferson’s Libraries database.