To Peter Cottom
Monticello Aug. 17. 14.
Being a subscriber for the Port folio, and observing by a notification on it that you are agent in Richmond for it, I ask the favor of you to inform me what is it’s annual price, which is unknown to me, and I will send you [an?] order to recieve the 1st year’s subscription in Richmond. [. . .] begun with that of May last. Accept the assurance of my respect
PoC (MHi); torn; on verso of address cover of William Thornton to TJ, 2 Aug. 1814; at foot of text: “Mr Peter Cottom Richmond”; endorsed by TJ.
Peter Cottom (d. 1849), bookseller, entered into partnership in Alexandria with John Stewart in 1798 to form Cottom & Stewart. In 1813 this association dissolved, Cottom relocated to Richmond, and there he established himself as a bookseller and stationer. He opened a shop in 1815 in Lynchburg, which TJ patronized at least once. From 1813 until at least 1819 Cottom published almanacs, and he also operated a circulating library in Richmond. He was a longtime Mason, in which capacity he attended the funeral of George Washington, and an honorary member of the Richmond Light Infantry Blues (Franklin L. Brockett, The Lodge of Washington: A History of the Alexandria Washington Lodge … 1783–1876 , 153–4; Alexandria Advertiser, 26 Jan. 1798; Alexandria Gazette, Commercial and Political, 20 Apr. 1813; Richmond Enquirer, 13 July 1813, 18 Mar. 1815, 9 July 1830; MB description begins James A. Bear Jr. and Lucia C. Stanton, eds., Jefferson’s Memorandum Books: Accounts, with Legal Records and Miscellany, 1767–1826, 1997, The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Second Series description ends , 2:1344; Cottom’s Virginia Almanac, For The Year Of Our Lord 1814 [Richmond, 1813]; Cottom’s New Virginia & North-Carolina Almanack, For The Year Of Our Lord 1820 [Richmond, 1819]; Richmond Whig and Public Advertiser, 12 June 1849).
Cottom’s missing response of 27 Aug. 1814 is recorded in SJL as received 29 Aug. 1814 from Richmond.