Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson’s Notes on his Library at the Time of Sale, [by 18 April 1815] (Summary)

Notes on Thomas Jefferson’s Library at the Time of Sale

[Ed. Note: TJ probably began preparing these notes after receiving his library catalogue back from Samuel H. Smith on or about 16 Mar. 1815. Work on it was well advanced by 28 Mar., and he completed it no later than 18 Apr. 1815 (Smith to TJ, 11 Mar. 1815; TJ to Joseph Milligan, 28 Mar. 1815; TJ to Alexander J. Dallas, 18 Apr. 1815). The notes consist of four sections: (1) “Additions to the Catalogue of books omitted in copying it,” which groups books by catalogue chapter; gives the identification number assigned to each book; cites the title, author, or both; and records the size and number of volumes for each book, for a total of 194½ volumes that TJ valued at $513.50. (2) A chart of the forty-four chapters in the library catalogue, with the total number of folios, quartos, octavos, duodecimos, and pamphlets on each page. (3) A chart with the total folios, quartos, octavos, and pamphlets in each chapter. (4) “Books missing,” which lists the catalogue chapter and title, author, or both of each book; gives the size and number of volumes for each book; has eight entries struck out; and contains 83 volumes, according to TJ’s count, that are worth $211. TJ then subtracted the value of the missing books from that of the omitted books and arrived at a total of $202.50 in his favor. In a 2 Aug. 1815 letter Joseph Milligan advised TJ that he had erred in these calculations. A photograph of these notes is reproduced elsewhere in this volume.]

MS (DLC: TJ Papers, 209:37212); written in TJ’s hand on both sides of a single sheet, with additions in red ink by Milligan; with section 1 at left margin of recto, section 2 spanning recto and verso, section 3 in middle of verso, and section 4 at right margin of verso; undated.

Index Entries

  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; catalogue of search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; inventory of search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Writings; Notes on his Library at the Time of Sale search
  • Library of Congress; TJ’s catalogue of books sold to search
  • Library of Congress; TJ’s inventory of search
  • Milligan, Joseph; and catalogue of TJ’s books search
  • Smith, Samuel Harrison; and sale of TJ’s library to Congress search