Thomas Jefferson Papers

Jacob Griswold to Thomas Jefferson, July 1816

From Jacob Griswold

NEW-YORK, JULY   1816.


I take the liberty of enclosing to you two copies of Proposals for founding a New Institution for Promoting Useful Knowledge; and, should the Plan meet your approbation, I would most respectfully solicit your patronage and influence in support of the same. Pray, sir, have the goodness to pardon the freedom I use, and to believe, that not merely self-interest has induced me to offer to you and the public a proposition of the kind. I would also beg the favor of you to inform me, in the course of a month from the receipt of this, what are your sentiments respecting the undertaking, and what is the prospect of patronage in your vicinity.

Should any thing be offered as capital, it may, in the first instance, be put down on the half sheet for pasting up, and afterwards regularly subscribed to a duplicate of the contract contained in the pamphlet; which duplicate can be forwarded whenever desired.

Wishing prosperity to our rising republic, and being desirous to put forth one hand for the advancement of knowledge, and to add one stone to the edifice of true national glory,

I remain, Sir, respectfully your, and the public’s, most obedient servant,


Note. Should Stereotype Plates be procured for the Commentary Bibles mentioned in the pamphlet herewith inclosed, the one may be afforded in Numbers for $9, and the other for $18. The Comment of the first is about the length of the Text, and of the other about three times as much. Fine vellum paper of a superior quality, may be procured for the one for $4.50, and the presswork would be $1. The expense in the same respects for the other would be double.

Those desirous of procuring either of those most excellent Family Bibles, or other books, will do well to furnish some capital, as in this way they may promote an excellent institution, and procure books at a quarter less expense than they otherwise would. The Stereotype Plates possess this peculiar advantage over other type, a set will last good a man’s life-time.—Surely the object is important; why may it not be accomplished?

J. G.

Printed circular (DLC: TJ Papers, 207:36989); partially dated; endorsed by TJ as a “(Circular)” received 1 Aug. 1816 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosures not found.

Jacob Griswold, shopkeeper and educator, operated a dry-goods store at 6 Chatham Street in New York City in 1816. Two years later he advertised the establishment of the Washington Academy on Grand Street. Griswold moved his school twice in the next three years, and in 1821 he attempted to found a Society for Promoting the Education of Youth. He remained in New York City until at least 1828 (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 [1816]: 229; [1828]: 285; New York Mercantile Advertiser, 16 May 1818; New York Commercial Advertiser, 9 Oct. 1819; DNA: RG 29, CS, N.Y., New York, 1820; New York Patron of Industry. Agricultural, Manufacturing, Commercial, 31 Mar., 2 June 1821).

Index Entries

  • Bible; selling of search
  • Griswold, Jacob; and new institution for promoting useful knowledge search
  • Griswold, Jacob; identified search
  • Griswold, Jacob; letters from search
  • Griswold, Jacob; sells books search
  • subscriptions, for publications; Bibles search