Major Jefferson Document 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.
Library of Congress (DLC): Thomas Jefferson Papers, 1606-1827
With some 27,000 Jefferson items, the Library of Congress has the largest of the Jefferson papers collections. The online site includes digitally scanned images of microfilmed copies of handwritten documents as well as many transcriptions taken from a 1904 edition of Jefferson’s works by Paul Leicester Ford. It also includes Jefferson’s epistolary record book, or Summary Journal of Letters (SJL), in which he tracked his correspondence for much of his life.
University of Virginia (ViU): Thomas Jefferson Papers, 1732-1828
This collection of about 3,650 items includes correspondence relating to Jefferson’s interests at Monticello, the Edgehill-Randolph family papers, and his plans and architectural drawings for the University of Virginia. The site includes a finding aid and an online documentary history of the construction of the buildings of the University of Virginia.
Missouri History Museum (MoSHi): Thomas Jefferson Collection, 1773-1826
This collection of 890 documents consists chiefly of letters from 1801 to 1809, the years of Jefferson’s presidency. The vast majority are from the collections of William K. Bixby and are identified through a finding aid.
Gilder Lehrman Collection at the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, New-York Historical Society (NHi)
This collection has approximately 288 Jefferson items and is on deposit at the New-York Historical Society. It is available online with digital scans and transcriptions.
Library of Virginia (Vi)
The Jefferson holdings include some Albemarle County court records and the executive papers from Jefferson’s two one-year terms as Virginia governor, 1779-1781. A collection of 15 items from 1810-1817 includes Jefferson’s correspondence with George Jefferson and Patrick Gibson concerning business matters, finances, building materials, shipments of flour and tobacco, and George Jefferson’s appointment as consul to Lisbon, Portugal.
Massachusetts Historical Society (MHi): Coolidge Collection of Thomas Jefferson Manuscripts, 1705-1827
The second largest archive of Jefferson materials, which was gifted by Jefferson descendants, contains approximately 9,500 items. Massachusetts Historical Society hosts an electronic archive for digitized images of some of the highlights from this collection including Jefferson’s book catalogues, the Declaration of Independence, Farm and Garden Books, Notes on the State of Virginia, and Architectural Drawings. Correspondence in the collection usually relates to family matters rather than public affairs.
The Huntington Library (CSmH) Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 1764-1826
The Huntington acquired this collection in 1916 and 1918 in two large manuscript groups with a number of items from collector William K. Bixby. The collection consists of approximately 800 items including letters, documents, architectural drawings and surveys, account books and receipts.
College of William & Mary (ViW): Thomas Jefferson Papers, 1761-1931
Approximately 160 original items are part of this 700-item collection, including correspondence exchanged between William Short and Thomas Jefferson. A digital scan and individual record exists for each original item. The collection also includes photostatic copies from the Library of Congress holdings.
American Philosophical Society (PPAmP): Thomas Jefferson Papers, 1775-1825
Approximately 250 items can be found in this collection of correspondence to and from Jefferson as well as other materials relating to the American Revolution and early American republic. Of interest for Jefferson’s presidency are letters exchanged with Robert Patterson and Charles Willson Peale, Jefferson’s address to the Miami and Delaware Indians, and notices of Jefferson’s election to the presidency of the APS. The collection includes photocopies of some material housed in other repositories.
Princeton University (NjP): Thomas Jefferson Collection, 1781-1826
A small collection consisting of dated and undated Jefferson correspondence, miscellanea, a manuscript with diagrams on nail making, and a contemporary copy of an 1808 speech Jefferson delivered to three Indian tribes.