" method is to make two observations a day..."

—Thomas Jefferson, 1790

"nature intended me for the tranquill pursuits of science, by rendering them my supreme delight."

—Thomas Jefferson, 1809

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"I have no doubt that the marked differences between the elephant & our colossal animal entitle him to a distinct appellation"

—Thomas Jefferson, 1809



"I was much attached to Astronomy & had laid a sufficient foundation at College to have pursued it with satisfaction & advantage."

—Thomas Jefferson, 1811

The American Philosophical Society

" most grateful thanks to the American Philosophical Society for the honour they have been pleased to confer on me..."

—Thomas Jefferson, 1781


"A Rich Spot of Earth"

Dig into the natural world of Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello by tuning into our 'Rich Spot of Earth' podcast, where history blooms with every episode.

More Resources on Jefferson and the Natural World

Related Topics

Jefferson's Excavation of a Native American Burial Mound

A combination of Jefferson's fascination with the culture of the Indigenous People of Virginia and his adherence to the European Enlightenment's emphasis on empirical data and scientific categorization resulted in Jefferson's excavation of a Monacan burial mound along the Rivanna River.

Available from The Shop at Monticello

The Spirit of Inquiry in the Age of Jefferson

In commemoration of the 275th anniversary of the American Philosophical Society’s founding in 1743 and the birth of its long-time president, Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826), this volume explores the history of science, knowledge production, and learning during the Age of Jefferson through papers presented at a 2018 symposium.

Jefferson's West: A Journey With Lewis & Clark

Historian James P. Ronda retells this compelling part of the American story by contrasting Thomas Jefferson's expectations for the expedition with what Clark and Lewis actually experienced.

Mammoth Book and Toy

Thomas Jefferson and the Mammoth Hunt is a rhyming account of Jefferson’s quest to disprove French naturalist Count Buffon’s claim that America only had small animals.