You are here

Thomas Jefferson Foundation Chronology

The following is a basic chronology of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, beginning with its incorporation in 1923.



  • The Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation purchased Monticello from Jefferson Monroe Levy, whose family had owned the property since 1834
  • The Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation officially incorporated in New York City to purchase, preserve, and maintain Monticello as a memorial to Thomas Jefferson and his ideals
  • Stuart G. Gibboney named president of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation, and the launching of the Foundation announced at a celebration at the University of Virginia


  • National Jefferson Centennial Committees established
  • "Monticelleans" earned title and lifetime pass for contributions of $1,000 or more
  • "Monticello Papers" sold in Entrance Hall
  • Jefferson Week (April 6-13) observances initiated in schools
  • Spiritual pilgrimage to Monticello held in Grand Central Station, New York
  • Road to entrance of house constructed
  • Repairs to terraces and supporting stone walls begun
  • Roof repaired, house painted, and trees treated by Davey Tree Expert Company
  • Garden Club of America invited to advise on restoration of gardens
  • Fiske Kimball named chairman of restoration committee
  • Local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution provided hostesses (July-October), and Benjamin Carr and Oliver Johnson named guides
  • 20,091 visitors; $.50 admission fee


  • National Education Committee established to promote restoration of Monticello and to spread Jeffersonian ideals
  • Jefferson birthday celebration held with descendants of signers of Declaration of Independence
  • "Boys" Jefferson Centennial Election with pilgrimage to Monticello
  • "Girls" Jefferson Centennial Election with pilgrimage to Paris


  • Centennial Year Programs included: "Patriots' Pledge of Faith" campaign kicked off by President Calvin Coolidge, and bill signed to create commission for the Sesquicentennial of American Independence and the Thomas Jefferson Centennial Commission of the United States; $35,000 contributed by New York City school children; Shadwell marker erected; "Religious Freedom" fund established by Felix Warburg; Jefferson gig pilgrimage to Philadelphia; Jefferson Centennial Day celebrated July 4th at Monticello
  • The "Monticello Shop" opened in room beneath south terrace


  • Monticello illuminated by the largest search light in the world
  • Great Clock repaired
  • "Redecorating" of first floor completed
  • 49,446 visitors


  • First mortgage paid off
  • "Patriots' Pledge of Faith" campaign revived for a celebration of Jefferson's birthday in public schools


  • Plaque unveiled at 57 Maiden Lane in New York City by the Home Insurance Company to commemorate Jefferson's residence there in 1790; event included the Monticello Guard and Jefferson's gig
  • Fund-raising card party held at the Plaza Hotel in New York City
  • Thomas Edison elected as the first Nation's Guest of Honor by the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation as a tribute to outstanding service in "science, art, education, literature, or government"
  • Mulberry Row barn (Jefferson's stable) "restored"
  • Stone house on Mulberry Row (superintendent's house) remodeled


  • Plan to celebrate Jefferson's birthday as "religious freedom day" approved by President Herbert Hoover and room at Monticello dedicated to this principle
  • Descendants of Marquis de Lafayette visited Monticello
  • Rear Admiral Richard Byrd elected the second Nation's Guest of Honor


  • Celebration of Freedom of the Press Day, and room at Monticello dedicated to this principle
  • Interior of main house painted


  • Financial plight led to refinancing of bonds and an appeal to newspapers and publishers for funds
  • TJMF headquarters on 115 Broadway closed and moved to rent-free space on 70 Pine Street


  • Celebration held with Future Farmers of America, and room dedicated to their ideals
  • The Benevolent Protective Order of Elks donated funds to erect a flag pole
  • Claude Bowers honored as first "modern" biographer of Jefferson
  • The Thomas Jefferson Memorial Commission created by Congress


  • Second floor of Monticello dedicated to the Daughters of the American Revolution


  • New entrance-exit road completed with funds from Department of Agriculture's Bureau of Public Roads
  • National Park Service bill proposed to acquire Monticello; federal takeover seen as financially prudent at this time, but advantages of continued private ownership by "public-spirited citizens" gained precedence
  • The Civilian Conservation Corps helped clear woods around Monticello


  • July 4th speech given by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt at Monticello
  • Treillage wallpaper pattern discovered in North Octagonal Room
  • House interior painted based on paint analysis by Milton Grigg, architect
  • The Virginia Emergency Relief Bureau provided free labor for general improvements


  • Curtains, alcove beds, and bedspreads added
  • 80,513 visitors


  • Restoration of the North Pavilion, dependencies, and terrace begun


  • TJMF officially declared debt-free
  • Garden Club of Virginia provided funds to restore East and West Lawn
  • Resolution introduced in Congress to celebrate the bicentennial of Jefferson's birth


  • South pavilion, dependencies, and terrace restored


  • Reports completed on the reconstruction of the terraces, painting, reinforcing floors, and road construction
  • Funds appropriated for archaeological excavations at Shadwell
  • Administrative offices established at Monticello in the Weaver's Cottage and North Pavilion



  • "Area around Monticello" proposed as permanent site for the United Nations' Organization


  • First year over 100,000 visitors


  • Need for more parking, extension of roads, and new gift shop addressed
  • Interior of house repainted on the occasion of President Harry S. Truman's visit and July 4th speech


  • 136,751 visitors; $.75 admission fee


  • New gift shop building approved for construction on Mulberry Row


  • Women employed for first time to serve as hostesses, and training program implemented
  • First year over 200,000 visitors


  • Ticket sales moved from gift shop to enlarged gatehouse


  • Monticello temporarily closed for structural repairs and the installation of a modern heating and air-conditioning system
  • Restoration of Jefferson's library collection begun


  • James A. Bear, Jr., named the first full-time resident curator and Report of the Curator begun
  • Staff numbered forty full-time employees
  • Dome and upper roof restored
  • Levy dormers removed and skylights installed
  • Spring Board meeting moved from New York City to Monticello


  • Monticello stamp issued ($.20)



  • The Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation professorship and fellowship programs established at the University of Virginia
  • Annual essay contest in local schools initiated, and a U.S. bond awarded as the prize
  • Thomas Jefferson Silver exhibit at the Bayly Museum of the University of Virginia
  • Archaeological excavations done at the site of the vegetable garden retaining wall
  • Stone house on Mulberry Row remodeled
  • 237,020 visitors; $1.00 admission fee


  • Exhibition Monticello in Pictures, 1770-1959, held at Alderman Library at the University of Virginia


  • Monticello designated National Historic Landmark


  • The Life Portraits of Thomas Jefferson exhibition held at the Bayly Museum of the University of Virginia


  • Shadwell purchased
  • Archaeological excavations done on Mulberry Row
  • Second roundabout surveyed, and a topographic map of area within fourth roundabout proposed
  • U.S. Naturalization Service ceremonies begun at Monticello on July 4th
  • 270,039 visitors


  • First guidebook approved for publication
  • First year over 300,000 visitors


  • Wine cellar "restored"


  • Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation headquarters moved from New York City to Monticello
  • Master site plan presented to deal with ever-increasing visitation
  • 383,692 visitors; $1.25 admission fee


  • Shuttle station construction begun


  • 50th anniversary of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation celebrated with exhibition History of Monticello since 1826 and the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation at Alderman Library, University of Virginia
  • Monticello invited to be placed on the Virginia Historic Register
  • House at Tufton purchased
  • Nature trails opened from shuttle station and return via picnic area, east road, north spring, and graveyard
  • Director's house completed and occupied
  • 519,032 visitors; $2.00 admission fee


  • National bicentennial celebration and record number of visitors: 671,487
  • President Gerald R. Ford delivered July 4th speech
  • Queen Elizabeth II visited Monticello
  • Restoration plans for gardens and grounds presented
  • Restoration of grained doors begun
  • Research library catalogued


  • Research files microfilmed
  • Interpretation Committee established


  • Howard Rice, Jr., donated research material on late eighteenth-century France upon completion of his award-winning Thomas Jefferson's Paris
  • Mulberry Row section of the first roundabout established
  • Research report and program for the restoration of the vegetable garden terrace, orchard, vineyard, berry patches, and nursery submitted


  • Archaeological excavations begun on the vegetable garden terrace
  • Grove created


  • Hostesses became guides with the employment of the first male guide
  • First outside grant (National Endowment for the Humanities) used to assist archaeological excavations
  • South orchard created
  • 461,850 visitors; $3.00 admission fee


  • Kitchen refurnished
  • Archaeology exhibit installed in cellar room


  • Archaeological excavations focused on Mulberry Row


  • Removal of parking lots from mountaintop begun
  • Ticket office moved to shuttle station


  • James A. Bear, Jr., completed thirty-year tenure and Daniel P. Jordan named executive director of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation
  • Garden pavilion dedicated
  • Recreation of vegetable garden terrace completed
  • Garden tours begun
  • 507,174 visitors; $4.00 admission fee


  • Northeast vineyard restored
  • Commemorative ceremony held in honor of the Levy family
  • Summer seminar, archaeological field school, and "Jefferson and Monticello" class begun in conjunction with the University of Virginia
  • Western Virginia Bicentennial Center became the Monticello Visitors Center


  • Education Department established
  • Center for Historic Plants created
  • Thomas Jefferson at Monticello exhibit installed at the Visitors Center (designed by Ralph Appelbaum)
  • Gift shop expanded to include warehouse and new shop in Visitors Center
  • Last section of first roundabout restored


  • Monticello named to the United Nations' list of World Heritage Sites
  • Research Center established
  • Visitor Services Department created
  • School programs established
  • Garden shop opened


  • Master Plan I adopted
  • Development and Public Affairs Department created
  • Restoration Department created
  • Mail-order catalogue established
  • First modern grape harvest and winemaking
  • Self-guided tours offered at Visitors Center
  • 561,781 visitors; $7.00 admission fee


  • State Dinner held with President and Mrs. George Bush, and fifty-three governors
  • Garden and Mulberry Row brochures published
  • Saturdays in the Garden program introduced
  • Oculus glass installed in dome room
  • Operations Department created
  • Work begun with Trust for Public Land to protect viewshed


  • Thomas Jefferson and the Pursuit of Liberty film completed, and award received
  • Monticello newsletter revitalized
  • Monticello Cabinet established
  • Roof restoration completed
  • North orchard replanted
  • Section of garden paling fence recreated
  • African-American advisory panel formed
  • Historic Structure Report completed


  • Jefferson's 250th Birthday commemorated with exhibition The Worlds of Thomas Jefferson
  • President William J. Clinton began inaugural procession at Monticello
  • President Mikhail S. Gorbachev presented speech for Jefferson's birthday celebration
  • Historic American Buildings Survey drawings completed
  • Monticello Monograph series revitalized
  • Southwest vineyard restored
  • Getting Word oral history project revitalized
  • Plantation community tours and weekends begun
  • Entrance Hall floor painted grass green, and South Square room painted an indigo blue distemper
  • 622,137 visitors; $8.00 admission fee


  • International Center for Jefferson Studies established at Kenwood
  • Thomas Jefferson commemorative coin minted
  • Nursery exhibit created
  • Mail-order plants made available through Twinleaf
  • Elderhostel program started
  • The Jefferson Moment campaign - the first fundraising effort since the 1920s - announced
  • Endowment policy adopted


  • Mulberry Row trees replanted
  • Archaeological excavations begun at Betty Hemings site
  • Family workshop programs created
  • First Foundation-sponsored travel program (France)


  • Monticello's heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) system upgraded
  • World Wide Web site created
  • Ground-breaking of Kemper Park and of the Thomas Jefferson Parkway


  • Master Plan II adopted
  • Monticello Plantation Archaeological Survey begun
  • Archaeological excavations begun at the Monticello home farm quarter
  • New guidebook published
  • Catalogue operations expanded
  • Center for Historic Plants inaugurated its biennial Historic Plant Symposium
  • 561,306 visitors; $9.00 admission fee


  • 75th anniversary celebration of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation
  • Corner terraces and Venetian porches restored
  • Pew Charitable Trusts gave $2 million to move retirement years of the Papers of Thomas Jefferson to the Foundation for editing and publication
  • Facilities planning begun


  • Archaeology department awarded a $600,600 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to create the Digital Archaeological Archive of Chesapeake Slavery (DAACS)
  • Ground broken on the new Jefferson Library at Kenwood
  • Foundation officially changed its name to Thomas Jefferson Foundation, Inc.


  • Edward W. and Betty Knight Scripps Foundation established an endowment for Monticello's annual July 4th event
  • Thomas Jefferson Foundation lecture series established at the University of Virginia
  • Cook's room restored


  • Jefferson Library dedicated on April 13, 2002
  • Saunders Bridge completed


  • Lewis & Clark expedition bicentennial celebration held at Monticello
  • Thomas Jefferson Parkway dedicated
  • Redesigned Monticello website launched


  • TJF purchased Montalto
  • First volume of the Papers of Thomas Jefferson: Retirement Series published


  • Retirement Series editors launched companion Family Letters Project site
  • Jefferson Library received $140,140 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services for the Thomas Jefferson's Libraries Project
  • Monticello's kitchen restored to its appearance ca. 1809
  • Foundation published Dining at Monticello: In Good Taste and Abundance
  • Monticello introduced AcoustiGuide tours
  • Monticello Explorer launched


  • Thomas Jefferson Foundation presented with the Mary Mason Anderson Williams award by Preservation Virginia for "exemplary preservation efforts"
  • Construction begun on new Visitors Center
  • Monticello initiated online ticket purchases


  • Ice house given new roof
  • Thomas Jefferson Encyclopedia launched


  • New Thomas Jefferson Visitor Center and Smith Education Center opened
  • President George W. Bush spoke at July 4th ceremony
  • President Daniel P. Jordan retired, and new president Leslie Greene Bowman assumed office



  • Dining Room painted chrome yellow
  • Crossroads exhibit opened
  • Monticello Reserve Ale developed in partnership with Starr Hill Brewery



- Text for years 1923-1998 from Rebecca L. Bowman, "A Chronology," in Celebrating Seventy-Five Years of Preservation and Education: The Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation, Inc., 1923-1998 (Charlottesville, Va.: Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation, 1998), 20-25.  Additions by Anna Berkes, June 14-15, 2011.



Login or register to participate in our online community.