Thomas Jefferson Papers

Constantine S. Rafinesque to Thomas Jefferson, 18 October 1820

From Constantine S. Rafinesque

Lexington Ky 18th Octr 1820

Respected Sir—

I lately took the liberty to address you three Letters on American or rather Alleghawee Antiquities, which were published in the Kentucky Reporter

I now transmit you Prospectus of a new literary undertaking, with some details of its future contents, (in a number of the Reporter). I will be the principal Editor of this Journal, to which many eminent Individuals will contribute. We solicit your patronage, and hope to deserve it.

I sent you the first number of my Annals of Nature last Spring. I hope that it was duly received.

If you should answer me, please to let me know something about the prospects of the Central University of Virginia.

Believe me Sir! respectfully and sincerely

Your St & wellwisher

Profr C S. Rafinesque

PS. Having observed last Spring the beautiful Plant called Jeffersonia binata, I have made two discoveries relating to it. 1. That the flowers smell like Jonquil

2. That the Stamina are opposed to the petals, and the plant belongs therefore to the natural order of Berberides.

RC (MHi); addressed: “Honbl Thomas Jefferson Late Prest of the Un. St. Monticello near Charlotteville Virginia”; stamped; postmarked Lexington, 23 Oct.; endorsed by TJ as received 5 Nov. 1820 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: prospectus for the Lexington Western Minerva, or American Annals of Knowledge and Literature, announcing that this quarterly literary and scientific journal will include “original tracts and essays on all subjects,” particularly the “Statistics, Geography, Geology, Antiquities, Civil and Natural History of the Western States,” exclude “Local politics and sectarian controversies,” but admit “political science and metaphysical disquisitions”; that it will be published for a $2 annual subscription by Thomas Smith beginning in January 1821; and concluding with a lengthy list of essays to appear in its first numbers (printed in Lexington Kentucky Reporter, 18 Oct. 1820).

jeffersonia binata is an older name for Jeffersonia diphylla, or twinleaf (Betts, Garden Book description begins Edwin M. Betts, ed., Thomas Jefferson’s Garden Book, 1766–1824, 1944 description ends , 173). The family of Berberidaceae (berberides) includes twinleaf (Hortus Third description begins Liberty Hyde Bailey, Ethel Zoe Bailey, and the staff of the Liberty Hyde Bailey Hortorium, Cornell University, Hortus Third: A Concise Dictionary of Plants Cultivated in the United States and Canada, 1976 description ends , 156).

Index Entries

  • Alligewi Indians search
  • Annals of Nature (C. S. Rafinesque) search
  • Indians, American; Alligewi search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; works sent to search
  • Jeffersonia diphylla (twinleaf); observations on search
  • jonquils search
  • Kentucky; literature from search
  • Kentucky; newspapers search
  • newspapers; Lexington, Ky.,Reporter search
  • Rafinesque, Constantine Samuel; and Alligewi antiquities search
  • Rafinesque, Constantine Samuel; Annals of Nature search
  • Rafinesque, Constantine Samuel; editsWestern Minerva, or American Annals of Knowledge and Literature search
  • Rafinesque, Constantine Samuel; letters from search
  • Rafinesque, Constantine Samuel; onJeffersonia diphylla (twinleaf) search
  • Rafinesque, Constantine Samuel; seeks professorship search
  • Smith, Thomas (ca.1792–1865); as editor search
  • Virginia, University of; Faculty and Curriculum; faculty applicants search
  • Western Minerva, or American Annals of Knowledge and Literature search