Thomas Jefferson Papers

Jefferson’s Volumes of the Encyclopédie Méthodique, 5 February 1803

Jefferson’s Volumes of the Encyclopédie Méthodique


the following are the Dictionaries of the Encyclopedie Methodique which I possess, and the last article to which each [. . .]. the sequel to that article is wanting. to be unbound, that is to say in boards.

Agriculture. Ceteree.

Amusemens des Sciences. Geometrie page 583

Antiquités. Ogulnia.

Architecture. Coloris des fleurs.

Art Militaire. Zigs Zags.

Arts et Metiers. Zinc. Discours. Table Alphabetique

Assemblée nationale. Tome 1st. wanting.

I have Tome 2d. Absens.—[Auteurs] dramatiques.

Beaux arts. Sculpteurs. Damophon.

Botanique. Mauve.

Chirurgie. Tete.

Chymie. Airelle.

Commerce. Zoroche.

Econom. Polit. & diplom. Zwifalten & Supplement.

Encyclopediana. Zeuxis. [. . .] of 2. the remaining [becomes last].

Equitation. Tombé. l’art de nager.

Finances. Yvetot.

Forêts et bois. Utricules.

Geographie ancienne. Trachonitæ

Geographie. Zaara.

Grammaire. Strophe.

Histoire. Triumvirat.

Histoire Naturelle. Quadrupedes. Zurnapa.
Oiseaux. Zoucet.
Serpens. Umbre.
Poissons. Zingel.
Insectes. Gyrin.
Vers. Cone.

Jurisprudence. Zewerp.

Jurisprudence. Police. Voitures.

Logique. Systeme.

Logique morales: Voyages.

Manufactures et arts. Toileries.

do. Pelleterie. Recherches. Vocabulaire &c. 760. [. . .] & 28 pages

Marine. Zones et Supplement.

Mathematiques. Zubenel-Chemali. & supp. tab. de [lecture]

Medecine. Capillaire.

Musique. Cytharisterienne.

Philosophie ancienne et moderne. Fetichisme. but the [demi volume] Condillac—Fetichisme is so much injured, that I would wish to recieve a new copy of it. to wit after Collins.

Theologie. Zwingliens.


Atlas. Terre de Kerguelen.

Planches. Recueil. Tomes 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

Histoire naturelle. Poissons.
Discours. 215. pages.
Planches 100.
Hist. Nat. Cetacees } Discours 7[1] pages.
Planches 35.
Hist. Nat. Serpens. } pl. 36—42
Papillons pl. 1—32.
Oiseaux pl. 1—77
Hist. Nat. Oiseaux. Discours lxxx. pages.
pl. 178—230.
Quadrups. pl. 1.—18.


Hist. Nat. Ornithologie. Disc. pa. 193—220
Insectes pl. 66—165.
Hist. Nat. Vers. Discours. 84. pages
pl. 1.—95.
Hist. Nat. Vers. Discours. 85—132
pl. 96—189.
Botanique Discours. 440. pages
pl. 1—[308].

a> omitted. Hist. Nat. Ornithologie. Disc. 192. pages.
Papillons. pl. 33—65
Quadrup. pl. 49—112

I have les Oiseaux de Buffon [avec des] planches [enluminées]. 5. vols of [text] & 5 vols of plate [to the 646. plate.] Quarto [. . .]. I wish the sequel.

When at Strasburg in April 1788, I bought a copy of [Aeschyle’ qua. supr. sunt.] commentario, scholiis et lexico Schutz. 8vo. as far as it was then published. I should be glad to get the residue of the same

I have 4. vols 12mo. of Cepede’s histoire naturelle des Quadrupeds ovipares, et des Serpens. if any more have been published I shall be glad to recieve them of the same [. . .]

PrC (DLC); faint and blurred; endorsed as sent to Charles Pougens by TJ in ink on verso.

TJ was an original subscriber to Charles-Joseph Panckoucke’s Encyclopédie méthodique (Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, Washington, D.C., 1952-59, 5 vols. description ends No. 4889), the topical successor to the more famous Encyclopédie of Diderot and d’Alembert, and had last tried to update his collection in 1795 and 1796. The ambitious project had a complicated publication history. Between 1782 and 1832, three different publishers brought out over 155 volumes, as well as about 6,000 illustrative plates. Divided into more than 30 subject areas, unbound installments, or livraisons, were distributed to subscribers when completed. TJ’s list above pairs each subject area with the last entry appearing in the livraisons in his possession and indicates that he had acquired most of the volumes published up through 1792 but, with a few possible exceptions, none published after that date. Of the volumes published by 1792, TJ appears to have lacked only the second volume on chemistry, the fourth volume on insects, and the fifth volume on medicine. In a couple of cases, however, he is reporting an incomplete volume. TJ’s edition of amusemens des sciences (Dictionnaire encyclopedique des amusemens des sciences mathématiques et physiques) extending only to the entry on geometry, lacked about 300 pages. Ending with strophe, an entry on metered pairs of poetic lines, his collection of the encyclopedia’s grammar and literature section was missing the third and final volume’s last 320 or so pages. Incomplete volumes for ancient geography, TJ’s last reported entry being that for trachonitæ, music (last reported entry, cytharisterienne), and philosophy (last reported entry, fetichisme, or superstitions), resulted from their staggered publication, with demivolumes arriving after 1792. In addition, no first volume on France’s National Assembly ever appeared, thus accounting for TJ’s acquisition of only the second volume, or tome. Plates (planches) were distributed separately from the other volumes. The list indicates that TJ had received both volumes of the atlas, as well as the eight volumes of plates published between 1783 and 1790 as Recueil des planches, which related to Art Militaire, Mechanical Arts, Manufactures, History, Mathematics, nautical concerns (Marine), and the volume Arts académiques, équitation, escrime, danse, et art de nager. Plates connected to the natural history division were also published about this time and eventually appeared under the collective title Histoire naturelle des trois règnes de la nature. It is more difficult to assess the comprehensiveness of TJ’s collection of these plates, as he seems to have classified them differently than did the publishers. Publication dates for volumes of plates, as well as the above list, leave little doubt, nevertheless, that TJ possessed plates that appeared in the volumes related to ichthyology, marine mammals (cetacees), herpetology and ophiology (reptiles and serpens), and ornithology, all of which were published by 1790. He also had collected plates related to botany and insects, even though the volumes in which those plates appeared were published in 1793 and 1797, respectively. The volume of plates on quadrupeds, also represented in this list, has not been dated, and a volume including plates of invertebrates, represented on this list as vers, was not published until the 1820s. When TJ sold his books to the Library of Congress in 1815, his collection of the Encyclopédie méthodique was catalogued as 136½ volumes, quite possibly a complete set up to that point (George B. Watts, “The Encyclopedie Methodique,” PMLA, 73 [1958], 348–66; Christabel P. Braunot and Kathleen Hardesty Doig, “The Encyclopédie méthodique: an introduction,” Studies on Voltaire and the eighteenth century, 327 [1995], 1–152; Vol. 28:357–9; Vol. 29:4).

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