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Eye Color

There seems to be no consensus on Thomas Jefferson's eye color. His eyes were variously described by family, friends, employees, and others as blue, gray, "light," hazel, and combinations thereof. An examination of Jefferson's life portraits does not clarify the issue; he is variously depicted with blue, hazel, and even brown eyes.

Contemporary Accounts

1801-1809. Joseph Delaplaine, visitor to Monticello. "... his eyes are light, and full of intelligence."1

1806-1821. Edmund Bacon, overseer at Monticello. "He had blue eyes."2

1814. Francis Calley Gray, visitor to Monticello. "... light gray eyes."3

1823. Alexander Hugh Holmes Stuart, visitor to Monticello. "His eyes were light blue or gray."4

1824. Daniel Webster, visitor to Monticello. "His eyes are small, very light, and now neither brilliant nor striking."5

Secondhand Accounts

1858. Henry Randall, biographer. "His full, deep set eyes, the prevailing color of which was light hazel (or flecks of hazel on a groundwork of grey), were peculiarly expressive, and mirrored, as the clear lake mirrors the cloud, every emotion which was passing through his mind."6

1871. Sarah N. Randolph, great-granddaughter. "Mr. Jefferson's ... eye, hazel."7

1948. Dumas Malone, biographer. "His eyes were hazel, though often described in later years as blue."8

Further Sources


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