Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Rapine, Conrad & Co., 22 October 1801

From Rapine, Conrad & Co.

Washington City Octr. 22, 1801


We are about to publish a new Law book of great merit; (as per subscription paper inclosed) and as the sale of Law books is confined to a particular class of gentlemen, & consequently slow, we think it prudent to obtain as many subscribers as possible, to partly reimburse us soon after the publication of the work, which will be neatly executed & correctly printed. We therefore solicit your name as a sanction to the work, which will ever be remembered by

Sir, your Obt hble servts.

Rapine, Conrad & Co.

The bearer, our young man, will wait an answer

RC (MHi); in Daniel Rapine’s hand and signed by him; at head of text: “The President of U.S.”; endorsed by TJ as received 22 Oct. and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure not found.

In mid-November 1800, Rapine, Conrad & Co., formerly of Philadelphia, opened the new federal city’s first bookstore and printing office, known as the Washington Book Store, at New Jersey Avenue and B Street, S.E. TJ was a regular customer who, on 10 July 1801, gave the booksellers an order on John Barnes for $76. On 6 Aug., Barnes entered in one of his statement of accounts with TJ the payment of another order in favor of Rapine, Conrad & Co., this one for $13.80. In October and November 1801, Rapine, Conrad & Co. advertised, in addition to the acts of the Sixth Congress, a “very handsome assortment of New Novels, of the first merit, with a good collection of law, and miscellaneous History, and a very elegant assortment of Ladies’ and gentlemen’s pocket books, of various prices and qualities” (MB description begins James A. Bear, Jr., and Lucia C. Stanton, eds., Jefferson’s Memorandum Books: Accounts, with Legal Records and Miscellany, 1767–1826, Princeton, 1997, The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Second Series description ends , 2:1046, 1048; Bryan, National Capital description begins Wilhelmus B. Bryan, A History of the National Capital from Its Foundation through the Period of the Adoption of the Organic Act, New York, 1914–16, 2 vols. description ends , 1:383; National Intelligencer, 12 and 14 Oct., 6 Nov. 1801; statement of private account from John Barnes, 30 Sep. 1801, in ViU; Vol. 34:706, 708).

New Law Book: TJ was one of the subscribers of Sir John Willes, Reports of Adjudged Cases in the Court of Common Pleas. During the time Lord Chief Justice Willes presided in that Court; together with some few cases of the same period determined in the House of Lords, Court of Chancery, and Exchequer Chamber (Philadelphia, 1802). The book, of which TJ received a copy on 7 Aug. 1802 for $4.50, was probably that referred to by the booksellers in their letter here (Sowerby description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, Washington, D.C., 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends , No. 2084; statement of account with Rapine, Conrad & Co., 4 May 1802–1 Jan. 1803, in MHi).

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