Thomas Jefferson's two-volume personal copy of George Sale's 1734 translation of the Qur'an is now in the collections of the Library of Congress. (Michaela McNichol, Library of Congress)

Thomas Jefferson owned a copy of the Qur'an, which was the second edition of a 1734 translation by George Sale, a two-volume set published in London in 1764. This set was sold to the Library of Congress in 1815, and rebound by the Library in 1918. The daybook of the Virginia Gazette records the purchase of this edition by Jefferson in Williamsburg in 1765.[1] There are no other known records of Jefferson reacquiring this work, suggesting perhaps that it survived the fire at Jefferson's family home, Shadwell, in 1770.

In 2007, Jefferson's copy of the Qur'an was used by United States Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN) to take his oath of office.

- Anna Berkes, March 20, 2009

Further Sources

Jefferson's Three Greatest Achievements: Religious Freedom

Video: A view of Jefferson's religious beliefs by David Holmes, retired professor of religion at the College of William and Mary.



  1. ^ Virginia Gazette DaybooksSpecial Collections, University of Virginia Library.