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About the Papers of Thomas Jefferson

Begun in 1943 as a partnership between Princeton University and Princeton University Press, the Papers of Thomas Jefferson was the first modern historical documentary edition. The project includes not only the letters and other documents that Jefferson wrote, but also those he received. Founding editor Julian P. Boyd designed an edition that would provide accurate texts with accompanying historical context. With the publication of the first volume in 1950 and the first volume of the Retirement Series in 2004, these volumes print, summarize, note, or otherwise account for virtually every document Jefferson wrote and received. Today, the project regularly publishes two volumes a year under the leadership of General Editor James P. McClure at Princeton University and J. Jefferson Looney, the Daniel P. Jordan Editor of the Jefferson Retirement Series at Monticello. A team of historians at each location transcribes, verifies, annotates, and indexes documents copied from over nine hundred repositories and collections worldwide, maintaining the high standards crafted by Boyd and continued by his successors Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, and Barbara B. Oberg. The edition includes a topically arranged Second Series of volumes arranged by topic, one title of which, Jefferson’s Memorandum Books: Accounts, with Legal Records and Miscellany, 1767-1826, edited by James A. Bear, Jr., and Lucia C. Stanton, is available through Founders Online. Distinguished advisory committees assist both the Princeton group and the editors at Monticello.

The Jefferson Papers at Princeton received its initial funding from the New York Times. Since then, support has been provided by Princeton University, private donors, major foundations, the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The Retirement Series, sponsored by the Thomas Jefferson Foundation and located at Monticello, began with a generous grant from the Pew Charitable Trusts, and has been supported by leading gifts from Richard Gilder, Mrs. Martin S. Davis, and Thomas A. Saunders III, as well as subsequent generous gifts from Janemarie D. and Donald A. King, Jr., Alice Handy and Peter Stoudt, Harlan Crow, Mr. and Mrs. E. Charles Longley, Jr., and the Abby S. and Howard P. Milstein Foundation.

The volumes published by Princeton University Press provide the foundation of the Jefferson electronic edition sponsored by the University of Virginia Press and appearing through Founders Online. For more information, visit the websites for the main series and the Retirement Series.

See a complete list of Jefferson Papers volumes included in Founders Online, with links to the documents.

The letterpress edition of The Papers of Thomas Jefferson is available from Princeton University Press.

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