Finding this was no garden tour

Posted in: Gardens, A Summary View, Thomas Jefferson

After a long, ridiculous search that made my head hurt real bad, I made a discovery that I hope will save many people from similar experiences: the nice people at Swem Library at the College of William and Mary have put Jefferson's "Notes on a Tour of English Gardens" up on their website.  In full color!  (Warning: massive files!)

In the joint online catalog for William and Mary and Colonial Williamsburg, the record for this item identifies it as the work of the "Jefferson Project" at Swem Library.  What is this thing called the Jefferson Project?  I must know!  Alas, my brain has had enough for today - that's a mystery for another time.




Thanks so much to Anna for the tip and to Amy for the clarification. I will add a link to this resource to our Founders Online Web guide ( and if possible to our other Jefferson resource pages ( and ) at the Library of Congress.


Hello Anna,

The Jefferson Project was funded by the Papers of Thomas Jefferson and the Delmas Foundation to enable Swem Library to scan its approximately 700 Jefferson items (documents by and to Jefferson). There is a record for each item with a link to the scan of it in the library's online catalog at

One can browse by picking "advanced" search and putting Thomas Jefferson in "everything" with a location of manuscripts. This will get a few hits that aren't relevant but most of the relevant ones will be there.

The letters to and from William Short may be found by adding Short in as a search and they include many fascinating ones concerning Jefferson's time in Europe.

Swem Library hopes, eventually, to have a website that will feature the project and provide more direct access to the images.


Massive files indeed; 40mb+ for each one. If you've got an available connection to someone at the library, might let them know that the link text in the anchors are wrong.


Swem's "Jefferson Project" might otherwise be known as "The school that made TJ is way more cool than the school that TJ made" project. Or something to that effect. In any case, I have a strong suspicion that it's not about Randolph.


Amy, thanks so much for this tip! I'm really glad to have this clarified, and I will make sure that everybody here knows about this little treasure trove of TJ documents. We'll be eagerly awaiting the Jefferson Project website!

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