Thomas Jefferson Papers

Henry H. Sherman to Thomas Jefferson, 3 June 1821

From Henry H. Sherman

Baltimore 3d June 1821


Perhaps you will be somewhat surprised at what I am about to write, but Sir I have a particular reason for doing it—you may Sir recollect of receiveing a 4to Vol. entitled Statisicl Annals of the U. States, from Mr Frederic A. Mayo. there is annother 4to Vol. entitled Drydens Fables—Those 2 Vols. were bound in a superor style, the reason of my writing to you on this subject is Mr Mayo has exhibited them all-over Richmond and the general supposition was that they were his own work

I Bound both Vols. my self, I drew the Plan, I selected the tools, in short I done the whole—it is better than one year since I bound them1 I can bring forward a number to prove that they were my own work,=the Principle reason of my writing is, that I think I ought to have a little of the Creadit as well as Mr M. to have all.2 it is true I did work for Mr M. at the time=I am sir an American born & my Father & Grand Father before me—I was left alone without father or Mother at nine years of age—the Man that I was bound to for the purpose of learning the trade did not know his business & I was oblige to shurk for myself—I am oblige to work as a journyman for I am not able to purchase tools for myself—as I have a family to support—but I am in hope that kind providence will turn to me some time or other=I am at work for Mr J. Botner in Calvert St. I have ben told lately that you did not receve the books till a few weeks since theey must be verry much defece’d for Mr M. has shewe[d] them to evry person that he was acquainted with—that you cannot be mistaken in the books—they had Collumns on the sides & Silk inside the board[s.] I hope that you will not take any offince at this, Sir—from your verry humble Servent.

Henry H. Sherman

RC (MHi); edge trimmed; endorsed by TJ as received 15 June 1821 and so recorded in SJL. RC (MHi); address cover only; with PoC of TJ to David Hosack, 12 July 1821, on verso; addressed: “Mr Thomas Jefferson Esq. Montecelo Va.”; stamp canceled; franked; postmarked Baltimore, 5 June.

Shirk (shurk) here means “to shift or fend for oneself” (OED description begins James A. H. Murray, J. A. Simpson, E. S. C. Weiner, and others, eds., The Oxford English Dictionary, 2d ed., 1989, 20 vols. description ends ).

1Sherman here canceled “which.”

2Omitted period at right margin editorially supplied.

Index Entries

  • books; binding of search
  • Bottner, Joseph search
  • Dryden, John; Fables, Ancient and Modern search
  • Fables, Ancient and Modern (J. Dryden) search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; binding of books search
  • Mayo, Frederick August; as employer search
  • Seybert, Adam; Statistical Annals search
  • Sherman, Henry H.; as bookbinder search
  • Sherman, Henry H.; family of search
  • Sherman, Henry H.; letter from search
  • Statistical Annals (A. Seybert) search