Thomas Jefferson Papers

William Pelham to Thomas Jefferson, 23 May 1809

From William Pelham

Boston May 23. 1809

Sir

On the publication of my System of Notation I took the liberty of presenting you a copy and was much gratified by your favourable acceptance of it. A Periodical work published in this town has lately presented an analysis of the work and I have had it reprinted. I beg your acceptance of a copy.

I am Sir with great respect Your very hble Servt

Wm Pelham.

RC (MHi); at foot of text: “Mr Jefferson”; endorsed by TJ as received 1 June 1809 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure not found.

William Pelham (1759–1827) was a native of Williamsburg who served as a surgeon during the Revolutionary War. He moved to Boston about 1800 and owned a bookstore and publishing house, ran a circulating library, and sent TJ books, including his work, A System of Notation: Representing the Sounds of Alphabetical Characters by a New Application of the Accentual Marks in Present Use (Boston, 1808; Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends no. 1129). Pelham sold his business in 1811 and moved in succession to Newark, New Jersey; to Philadelphia, where he operated a circulating library; to Zanesville, Ohio, where he edited the Ohio Republic; and finally, in 1825, to New Harmony, Indiana, where he published the New-Harmony Gazette (Caroline Creese Pelham, “William Pelham,” WMQ description begins William and Mary Quarterly, 1892– description ends , 2d ser., 8 [1928]: 42–5; TJ to Pelham, 12 July 1808 [ViU: TJP]; Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends no. 1505).

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