Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Abraham Howard Quincy, 7 June 1812

To Abraham Howard Quincy

Monticello June 7. 12.


Be pleased to accept my thanks for an ink-stand of soap stone which I have recieved from you through mr Sturtevant of Norfolk. he forwarded at the same time a printed paper concerning stoves and other things made by you of the same stone and expressing a wish to know where, in other parts of the US. such stone was to be found. I have often heard of it, but know of it myself only in the neighborhood of Washington where it is very abundant. the workmen there make the facings or architraves of fire places of it. those of the President’s house are all of that stone, precisely of the colours of the ink-stand I have recieved. they have been painted over; I am not certain whether a single one of them remains unpainted so as to shew the natural stone; but there are other specimens in the city. I presume there is no place from which works of that kind would find their way into more general circulation, & especially the stoves, which if they really give an equal warmth with one tenth of the fuel, would certainly be called for but by1 every body. their principle excites curiosity, and being secured by patent, would encourage the demand if made known. Accept the assurance of my respects

Th: Jefferson

P.S. if you think proper to drop me a line giving some idea of the principle of the stove, & the price, perhaps I may procure some applicns from this state by way of example.

PoC (ViW: TC-JP); postscript adjacent to signature; at foot of text: “Mr Abraham Howard Quincy. No 95. Broad street. Boston”; endorsed by TJ as a letter to “Quincy <Benjamin> Abraham Howard.”

Abraham Howard Quincy (1767–1840), a native of Boston, worked for a flour merchant in that city by 1784 and established his own mercantile business ten years later. By 1799 he was a baker specializing in ship bread. In 1806 he joined with Thomas Holland to form the flour-trading partnership of Quincy & Holland on Broad Street, which lasted until 1811. Quincy edited the short-lived Boston Columbian Detector, 1808–09. He added his middle name by an act of the Massachusetts legislature in June 1811. Quincy moved to New York City in the latter half of 1812 and opened a fire-cabinet factory. About 1815 he returned to Boston, where he reestablished himself at his Broad Street bakery, taking on Jacob Quincy as a partner by 1818 and forming by 1822 Abraham H. Quincy & Son with his namesake son. Quincy edited the Eastport, Me., Northern Light newspaper in 1828, briefly resumed business with his son in 1830, and moved two years later to Washington, where he worked as a Navy Department clerk until his death. A prominent Freemason and Republican, he also dedicated himself to the improvement of Sunday schools (Clement T. Coote, An Address on the Life and Character of Abraham Howard Quincy [1840]; New England Historical and Genealogical Register 19 [1865]: 235; Boston Mercury, 10 June 1794; Boston Massachusetts Mercury, 10 Dec. 1799; The Boston Directory [1796], 85; [1800], 90; [1810], 161; [1816], 177; [1818], 175; [1822], 196; [1830], 256; Boston Gazette, 24 Apr. 1806; Boston Columbian Centinel, 30 Mar. 1811, 23 Nov. 1822, 5 Nov. 1823; Newburyport [Mass.] Herald, 3 Sept. 1811; Boston Scourge, 9 Nov. 1811; New York Public Advertiser, 15 Jan. 1813; Longworth’s New York Directory description begins Longworth’s American Almanac, New-York Register, and City Directory. New York, 1796–1842 (title varies; cited by year of publication) description ends [1813], 259; Quincy to TJ, 10 May 1814; Stimpson’s Boston Directory [1832], 270; William Elliot, The Washington Guide [1837], 228; Washington Daily National Intelligencer, 14 Sept. 1840; New York Morning Herald, 19 Sept. 1840).

Quincy received a patent for a “fire cavern” on 20 Mar. 1811 and another for “manufacturing ink stands of stone” on 3 Sept. of that year. In 1812 he patented “A furnace for heating ovens” (17 Feb.), “A fire proof stone stove” (21 May), “A stone boiler for refining sulphur and for chemical purposes,” and “A foot stove with stone heaters” (both 13 June) (List of Patents description begins A List of Patents granted by the United States from April 10, 1790, to December 31, 1836, 1872 description ends , 96, 100, 110, 113, 114). Advertisements for and reviews of Quincy’s stoves appeared in a number of periodicals, including the Boston Independent Chronicle, 27 Apr. 1812, the Philadelphia Repertory 2 (1812): 392, the Windsor, Vt., Washingtonian, 8 June 1812, and the Baltimore Patriot & Evening Advertiser, 14 Dec. 1813.

1Thus in manuscript.

Index Entries

  • Boston, Mass.; newspapers search
  • Columbian Detector (Boston newspaper) search
  • Eastport, Me.; newspapers in search
  • Holland, Thomas search
  • household articles; inkstands search
  • inkstands; stone search
  • newspapers; Boston Columbian Detector search
  • newspapers; Eastport, Me.,Northern Light search
  • Northern Light (Eastport, Me., newspaper) search
  • patents; of A. H. Quincy search
  • President’s House; mentioned search
  • Quincy, Abraham H. & Son (Boston firm) search
  • Quincy, Abraham Howard; and stone stoves search
  • Quincy, Abraham Howard; identified search
  • Quincy, Abraham Howard; letters to search
  • Quincy, Abraham Howard; sends inkstand to TJ search
  • Quincy, Jacob search
  • Quincy & Holland (Boston firm) search
  • soapstone search
  • stoves; stone search
  • Sturtevant, Earl; forwards inkstand to TJ search
  • Washington (D.C.); soapstone deposits search