Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Marie Rivardi, 6 January 1807

Philadelphia January 6th. 1807.


As to the natural patron of the sciences & liberal arts in the country over which you preside; as to one who would be such, even if his high station did not add the weight of official, to that of personal influence, I take the liberty of presenting to you the plan of an Institution, which has, I hope, distinguished itself already during several years & is still susceptible, of being considerably extended & improved. This success I am not vain enough to ascribe to my exertions alone, but also to those able teachers whose assistance I have been fortunate enough to obtain, to the improvements of the pupils & to the kind advice & influence of those gentlemen who allow me to consider them as the particular friends of the Establishment. All these circumstances induce me to hope, especially as Governor McKean is among the patrons of the Seminary, that the Legislature will encourage my efforts, by providing a building for the use of the Establishment & indeed they have at this moment under their consideration, a bill to that effect.

As of upwards of 60 young Ladies, which I have at present under my care the greatest number are from the different states of the Union & from foreign countries, I may perhaps consider this more as a national, than as a local Establishment—I may profess at least that it is my ambition to render it such. This laudable aim will I hope secure me the support of the first Magistrate, who at the same time is the first scientific & literary character of the United States.

I have the honor to be with the highest respect

Sir Your Excellency’s most obedient & most humble Servant

Maria Rivardi

DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.

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