Thomas Jefferson Papers

Gerard E. Stack to Thomas Jefferson, 12 April 1819

From Gerard E. Stack

Philadelphia April 12. 1819.


The friendship of Dr Cooper enables me to take the liberty of informing you that I purpose to set out for Charlottesville1 in the hope of acting as classical teacher, connected with the College now erecting near that place. I expect the Richmond Packet to sail tomorrow.

I am, Sir, Your obedient Servant

G. E. Stack.

RC (ViU: TJP); endorsed by TJ as received 1 May 1819 and so recorded in SJL. RC (MHi); address cover only; with PoC of TJ to Thomas Ritchie, 11 June 1819, on verso; addressed: “To the Honble Thomas Jefferson Esqr Monticello Charlottesville Va”; stamped; postmarked Philadelphia, 12 Apr.

Gerard E. Stack (b. 1788), educator, was a native of Ireland who may have studied at Trinity College, Dublin, and King’s College (later part of the University of Aberdeen). He immigrated to the United States in 1816, during which year he served as a librarian and taught Latin and Greek languages and literature at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. In 1817 Stack was briefly principal of Washington College on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. He moved to Charlottesville late in April 1819 and, with TJ’s assistance, opened a preparatory school, the Charlottesville Academy, the following month. It closed a little over a year later. One of his former students wondered in October 1820 how it lasted even that long, given that Stack, though “an accomplished scholar and a well disposed man naturally,” was “totally incompetent to teach,” “possessed very little judgement,” and “was wavering fickle and without firmness,” such that the institution was “the scene of much dissipation and riot.” Stack relocated thereafter to Richmond, where he continued to teach until at least 1822 (Naturalization petition, Philadelphia Quarter Sessions Court, 22 Oct. 1818 [Philadelphia City Archives]; Thomas Cooper to TJ, 19 Apr. 1818; Joshua A. Lippincott and Ovando B. Super, Alumni Record of Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pa. [1886]; Charles F. Himes, A Sketch of Dickinson College, Carlisle, Penn’a [1879], 152; Bernard C. Steiner, History of Education in Maryland [1894], 84; TJ to Louis H. Girardin, 10 May 1819; TJ to Joel Yancey, 25 May 1819; DNA: RG 29, CS, Albemarle Co., 1820 (as “Garrett E. Stack”); TJ to Stack, [26 Mar. 1820], and enclosure; Hore Browse Trist to Nicholas P. Trist, 13 Oct. 1820 [DLC: NPT]; Richmond Enquirer, 28 Dec. 1820, 14 Aug. 1821, 8 Oct. 1822).

1Manuscript: “Charlotteville.”

Index Entries

  • boats; carriage to and from Richmond search
  • Charlottesville Academy; and G. E. Stack search
  • Cooper, Thomas (1759–1839); and G. E. Stack search
  • Richmond, Va.; boat carriage to and from search
  • Stack, Gerard E.; and Charlottesville Academy search
  • Stack, Gerard E.; identified search
  • Stack, Gerard E.; letters from search