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Thomas Jefferson Papers

Identifier: 01/Mss. 39.1 J35

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

Letters, 1785-1826, written by Thomas Jefferson while serving as a diplomat to France, Secretary of State, Vice-President and President of the United States to William Short. The letters are written from France (Paris, Lyons, Aix en Provence, Nice, Marseilles, Toulouse and Nantes), Amsterdam, Germany (Frankfort on the Main), New York City, Philadelpia, Washington and "Monticello," Albemarle County, Va. One of the subjects covered by the letters is the University of Virginia. Among the items in the collection is "Syllabus of an estimate of the doctrines of Jesus compared with those of others."

The collection consists of 160 original manuscripts, mostly letters, 1785-1826, written by Thomas Jefferson to William Short but including some other papers in Jefferson's hand and some other papers of William Short; and 107 items relating to Jefferson including 55 photostatic copies of letters in the Library of Congress written to Jefferson as well as printed material concerning him.

The Jefferson Project was funded by the Papers of Thomas Jefferson and the Delmas Foundation to enable Swem Library to scan its approximately 700 Jefferson items (documents by and to Jefferson). There is a record for each item with a link to the scan of it in the library’s online catalog at

One can browse by picking “advanced” search and putting Thomas Jefferson in “everything” with a location of manuscripts. This will get a few hits that aren’t relevant, but most of the relevant ones will be there. For instance, the letters to and from William Short may be found by adding Short in as a search and they include many fascinating ones concerning Jefferson’s time in Europe. Swem Library hopes, eventually, to have a website that will feature the project and provide more direct access to the images.


  • Creation: 1761-1931


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access:

Collection is open to all researchers. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, such as the Virginia Public Records Act (Code of Virginia. § 42.1-76-91); and the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (Code of Virginia § 2.2-3705.5). Confidential material may include, but is not limited to, educational, medical, and personnel records. If sensitive material is found in this collection, please contact a staff member immediately. The disclosure of personally identifiable information pertaining to a living individual may have legal consequences for which the College of William and Mary assumes no responsibility.

Conditions Governing Use:

When available, photocopies, digital surrogates, or other reproductions must be used in place of original documents.

Before reproducing or quoting from any materials, in whole or in part, permission must be obtained from the Special Collections Research Center, and the holder of the copyright, if not Swem Library.

Biographical Information:

Thomas Jefferson was born in 1743 in Albemarle County, Virginia, inheriting from his father, a planter and surveyor, some 5,000 acres of land, and from his mother, a Randolph, high social standing. He studied at the College of William and Mary, then read law. He died on July 4, 1826.

Information about this individual or organization may be available in the Special Collections Research Center Wiki:


267.00 Items

Acquisition Information:


Guide to the Thomas Jefferson Papers
Finding Aid Authors: Special Collections Staff.
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
The collection description/finding aid is written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center Repository