Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Cooper, 17 March 1820

To Thomas Cooper

Monticell[o] 1 Mar. 17. 20.

Dear Sir

This will be handed you by mr Coffee, an English gentleman of eminence in the arts of sculpture and painting. he has been for some time an inmate with us at Monticello, having been engaged in making the busts in plaister of myself and all the grown members of our family. he has done the same at mr Madison’s and some other families of my neighborhood, and much in Richmond and to very general satisfaction. he possesses a more minute knolege of the processes and manipulations in the mechanic arts generally, than any one I have ever met with—add to this that he is an excellent man.

he goes Southwardly, and to Columbia particularly, in expectation that he may meet with employment there in his line and the favor I ask of you is to befriend him in that way by making him known to the gentlemen of the place or state who may be likely to emp[loy] his skill I have many acquaintances in S. Carolina: but not knowing thei[r] particular residences, I do not know which of them may live on the [r]oad2 of mr Coffee, or in Columbia3 particularly, or I should have addressed him to them also. this principal service I request you to render him and shall consider it a great favor done to myself.

I wrote you by mail on the 13th in answer to yours of the 1st. Mr Coffee can give you an account of the state & appearance of the buildings of the University, and particularly of the one destined for you.4 ever and affectionately your’s.

Th: Jefferson

PoC (photocopy in ViU: TJP); on verso of a reused address cover from John Coles to TJ; mutilated at seal and edge trimmed, with two words rewritten by TJ; at foot of text: “Doctr Thomas Cooper”; mistakenly endorsed by TJ as a letter of 16 Mar. 1820. Recorded in SJL as a letter of 17 Mar. 1820 sent “by mr Coffee.”

1Word faint.

2Word faint.

3Word interlined in place of “Cambden.”

4Omitted period at right margin editorially supplied.

Index Entries

  • Coffee, William John; introduced by TJ search
  • Coffee, William John; terra-cotta busts by search
  • Coffee, William John; visits Monticello search
  • Coffee, William John; visits Montpellier search
  • Cooper, Thomas; letters to search
  • Cooper, Thomas; TJ introduces W. J. Coffee to search
  • Cooper, Thomas; University of Virginia professorship proposed for search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of introduction from search
  • Monticello (TJ’s Albemarle Co. estate); Visitors to; Coffee, William J. search
  • Montpellier (Montpelier; J. Madison’s Orange Co. estate); visitors to search
  • sculpture; W. J. Coffee’s terra-cotta busts search
  • Virginia, University of; Construction and Grounds; progress of search