Much as I love debunking Jefferson quotations that were probably made up by college students last week on Facebook, it’s somewhat more intellectually stimulating to revisit some venerable old spurious quotes. There’s a whole slew of these that are routinely attributed to Jefferson and various others, and you’ll see most of them dealt with in all the standard quotation references. Whatever the apparent vintage of the spurious quote, however, I find that it behooves me to keep searching for them at regular intervals. Those heroic scannemore »
On July 20, 2010, the New York Times published a thoughtful essay on Jefferson's lessons for relating to the Middle East Ted Widmer of the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University. Says Widmer, "More than most founders, Thomas Jefferson has a way of returning to the news cycle."more »
Back in the 1920s, when the nascent Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation (my current employer, now called the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, Inc., and not to be confused with the Monticello Association or the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association) was trying to scrape together the cash to purchase Monticello from Jefferson Monroe Levy, they found themselves a little short. So they conceived a cunning plan, of course – they woulmore »
Lots of people ask us for recommendations for which Jefferson biography to read, but the choices are so many and people’s tastes so varied that answering this question is always a bit tricky. So I thought I’d ask the audience: which would you recommend? I’ll prime the pump with a list of possibilities (in order of publication, lest you think I am trying to suggest some sort of ranking), but feel free to write in your own candidate!more »
Maybe we don’t have Jefferson’s actual letters here at the Jefferson Library, but we have other cool stuff – oh yes we do! One perhaps less showy-cool but nonetheless important sort of thing we have here is books, correspondence, and research notes from a lot of the great Jefferson scholars.more »
From the Reference Question files: “I’ve heard that Thomas Jefferson was a volunteer firefighter. Is this true?”
If I had better PhotoShop skills, I would whip up a picture of TJ wearing a firehat. You all will just have to imagine how funny that would be.
Well, now we have to be serious, because you never know when the seemingly-unbelievable story happens to be true, and then we have egg on our face if it turns out we’ve made too much fun of the story.more »
Oh, Peter Jefferson! So fascinating, yet so mysterious. I never knew you designed a house, for instance.
Recently I ran across a 1990 article from the Raleigh (NC) News and Observer, which claimed that TJ’s father, Peter Jefferson (not Thomas Jefferson - they were very definite about that), had designed a house called High Rock Farm that had recently been sold to the Historic Preservation Foundation of North Carolina.more »
I know that when you want the latest hot Jefferson biography, it must seem like aeons until it is ready for you. Well, I am here to tell you that we are not just sitting on your book, twiddling our thumbs. No! We are doing Very Important Things to that book. You can’t see it, but we’re doing it.more »