Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Thomas Jefferson to James Dinsmore, 13 April 1817

To James Dinsmore

Monticello Apr. 13. 17.

Dear Sir

We are about to establish a College near Charlottesville on the lands formerly Colo Monroe’s, a mile above the town. we do not propose to erect a single grand building, but to form a square of perhaps 200 yards, and to arrange around that pavilions of about 24. by 36.f. one for every professorship & his school. they are to be of various forms, models of chaste architecture, as examples for the school of architecure to be formed on. we shall build one only in the latter end of this year, and go on with others year after year, as our funds increase. indeed we believe that our establishment will draw to it the great state university which is to be located at the next meeting of the legislature. the College, the immediate subject of this letter, is under the direction of 6. visitors, mr Madison, Colo Monroe, Genl Cocke mr Cabell, mr Watson of Louisa, & myself, and we are to meet on the 6th of May to put it into motion. I suppose the superintendance of the buildings will rest chiefly on myself as most convenient. so far as it does I should wish to commit it to yourself and mr Nelson, and while little is called for this year which might disturb your present engagements, it will open a great field of future employment for you. will you undertake it? if you will, be so good as to let me hear from you as soon as you can, and I would rather wish it to be before the 6th of May.   there is a person here who wishes to offer you two very fine boys, his sons, as apprentices; but on this nothing need be said until you determine to come. tender my esteem to mr Nelson & be assured of it respectfully yourself.

Th: Jefferson

PoC (ViU: TJP); on verso of reused address cover to TJ; at foot of text: “Mr James Dinsmore”; endorsed by TJ.

mr nelson: John Neilson.

Index Entries

  • architecture; Central College buildings as models of search
  • Central College, Board of Visitors; members of search
  • Central College; builders for search
  • Dinsmore, James; as builder for Central College search
  • Dinsmore, James; letters to search
  • Neilson (Nelson), John; as builder for Central College search
  • Virginia; General Assembly search