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Joseph Donath

Joseph Donath [1]was a Philadelphia merchant, located at 28 South Front street, who supplied Thomas Jefferson with glass. The store is listed as Josiah Donath & Company in Hardie's 1794 Philadelphia Directory, but listed as Joseph Donath & Co. with James Mazurie as a partner in Hogan's 1795 Philadelphia Directory. He apparently continued in business at this location through 1813 but no city directories have been checked beyond this date. Apparently around 1809, Donath's partner, James Mazurie, set up a second store at 59 North Fourth Street, but Donath's name is never listed at the same address in any of the directories.

Jefferson ordered glass from Donath on November 16, 1792, August 12, 1795, September 16, 1795, October 20, 1795, June 11, 1804, and October 9, 1807.[2] For all the glass ordered in 1792-1795, Jefferson records paying Donath $242.46. No record of payment for the orders of 1804 and 1807 appear in the Memorandum Book.

In a letter to James Madison, dated May 10, 1798, Jefferson wrote that he was able to obtain from Donath the glass that Madison had asked him to get.[3] This is the only mention of Donath supplying glass for any other noted figure of the time. Jefferson always specified that he wanted Bohemian glass from Donath.[4]


  1. This article is based on Richard Hawkins, Monticello Research Report, January 1991.
  2. See ViU;4658 Jefferson to Donath 16 Nov 1792, ViU:52456 Jefferson to Donath 12 Aug 1795, OCHopkins:46589 Jefferson to Donath 16 Sep 1795, N146:p16 Building Notebook, MHi:15250 Jefferson to Donath 11 June 1804, and MHi19867/PPL:44004 Jefferson to Donath 9 October 1807.
  3. PTJ, 30:343.
  4. Two kinds of glass are mentioned in the Jefferson-Donath correspondence: Bohemian glass, the type Jefferson preferred, and Bavarian glass, which was acceptable in the absence of the former.


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