Thomas Jefferson papers / Massachusetts Historical Society

The Coolidge Collection of Thomas Jefferson Manuscripts microfilm edition is comprised of 16 reels filmed in 1977 and contains the approximately 9,500 items held at the Massachusetts Historical Society. This is the largest collection of Thomas Jefferson manuscripts outside the Library of Congress and consists primarily of private, rather than public, papers. An 1898 gift of over 8,000 items from Thomas Jefferson Coolidge of Boston, the third president’s great grandson, constitutes the core of the collection. Three subsequent gifts from the Coolidge family augmented the original donation. Also included in the microfilm is a manuscript draft of the Declaration of Independence in Jefferson’s hand. This item was a gift to the Massachusetts Historical Society by Mr. and Mrs. Arthur C. Washburn and is not part of the Coolidge Collection.

Digitized here are 4,630 letters received by Jefferson and 3,280 retained copies of his outgoing correspondence, records of books in Jefferson’s personal library, almanacs and account books, and 400 architectural drawings and sketches. Other notable items include a manuscript of Notes on the State of Virginia containing Jefferson’s corrections, changes, and additions made prior to publication, a volume of weather records for the years 1782-1826 bound with notes, tables, and memoranda on weather, climate, and other subjects, and Jefferson’s Farm and Garden Books which contain notes on the crops, vegetable plots, orchards, and ornamental gardens of Monticello and Jefferson’s other estates, as well as inventories of livestock and equipment, records of production, and lists of the enslaved, where they lived and worked, and the rations and supplies they received.

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