Personality Profile - Describing Jefferson

"Mr. Jefferson's Stature Was Commanding . . ."

Recalled namesake grandson Thomas Jefferson Randolph:

"Mr. Jefferson's hair, when young, was of a reddish cast; sandy as he advanced in years; his eye, hazel. . . . Mr. Jefferson's stature was commanding -- six feet two-and-a half inches in height, well formed, indicating strength, activity, and robust health; his carriage erect; step firm and elastic, which he preserved to his death; his temper, naturally strong, under perfect control; his courage cool and impassive . . . . it was remarked of him that he never abandoned a plan, a principle, or a friend."

"His Dress Was Simple"

Jefferson's granddaughter Ellen Wayles Randolph remembered his daily attire:

"His dress was simple, and adapted to his ideas of neatness and comfort. He paid little attention to fashion, wearing whatever he liked best, and sometimes blending the fashions of several different periods. He wore long waistcoats, when the mode was for very short; white cambric stocks fastened behind with a buckle, when cravats were universal. He adopted the pantaloon very late in life, because he found it more comfortable and convenient, and cut off his queue for the same reason. He made no change except from motives of the same kind, and did nothing to be in conformity with the fashion of the day. He considered such independence as the privilege of his age."

These excerpts, and others which portray Jefferson's private life, may be found in Sarah N. Randolph's The Domestic Life of Thomas Jefferson. The editor was Jefferson's great-granddaughter.

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Image Credits

  • Copy of the second life portrait of Jefferson (1805) by Rembrandt Peale.
  • Underwaistcoat with sleeves, owned by Jefferson. Photographed by Hans Lorenz, courtesy Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.
  • Riding boots owned by Jefferson. Photographed by Edward Owen.

Discussion

says

Jefferson's riding boots, seen on this page, are one of my favorite objects on display in the house.

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