Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Albert & John W. Picket, 10 April 1818

To Albert & John W. Picket

Monticello Apr. 10. 18.

Messrs A. & J. W. Picket.

Your favor of Mar. 29. is recieved with the first numbers of the Academician. at an earlier period of life I befriended with zeal all new publications which promised utility, as yours does. but age now admonishes me to wind up old concerns and to embark in no new ones. scarcely a week passes without recieving some proposition for a new publication. but the desire of rest & tranquility is irresistable at my time of life and must excuse my declining the subscription for your publication, as I do as to all others. I tender my best wishes for it’s success with the assurance to yourselves of my great respect.

Th: Jefferson

RC (PWacD: Sol Feinstone Collection, on deposit PPAmP). PoC (ViW: TC-JP); endorsed by TJ.

Albert Picket (1771–1850), educator and author, was a native of New Jersey. A former pupil of Noah Webster, he started taking students himself in New York City around 1794 and operated a school for girls there for nearly a quarter-century. Picket also compiled many textbooks for reading, spelling, and grammar, several of which he sent to TJ. His eldest child and longtime business partner, John W. Picket, taught with him from the 1810s, helped him prepare, publish, and promote his textbooks and, from 1818 to 1820, coedited with him the Academician, one of the first American periodicals dedicated to the improvement of education. The Pickets moved to Baltimore in 1821 and by 1826 had settled in Cincinnati, where they opened another girls’ school. After their arrival in Ohio the elder Picket served on the local board of education, was a college trustee, and helped found and lead an organization of educators, the Western Literary Institute and College of Professional Teachers. His son was for a time during the 1830s president of both the College of Teachers of the Mississippi Valley and Woodward College in Cincinnati. Albert Picket died in Delaware, Ohio, possessed of real estate valued at $3,500 (DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, 1928–36, 20 vols. description ends ; Albert Picket to TJ, 24 July 1805 [MHi]; New York Columbian, 2 June 1814, 25 Sept. 1819; New York Commercial Advertiser, 3 May 1817; Madison, Papers, Retirement Ser., 2:380; Baltimore Patriot & Mercantile Advertiser, 15 July 1822; William Bullock, Sketch of a Journey through the Western States of North America [1827], 35; DNA: RG 29, CS, Ohio, Cincinnati, 1830, Delaware, 1850; Huntington’s Introduction to Modern Geography, for Beginners and Common Schools [1838]; Gallipolis [Ohio] Journal, 22 Aug. 1850).

The Picket partnership’s favor of mar. 29, not found, is recorded in SJL as received 7 Apr. 1818 from New York City. The firm had presumably sent TJ the inaugural issues of its new publication, the Academician, which began publication on 7 Feb. 1818. A subscription to the journal cost $3 per annum.

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