Seventy-four books that Thomas Jefferson read and annotated, have been discovered in the rare books collection at Washington University in St. Louis. The books were auctioned off in 1829 to pay estate debts after Jefferson’s death.
The books are not for sale, and will remain as part of the larger collection of rare books. The value of this discovery is that it allows scholars insight into the texts that influenced Thomas Jefferson, and the way that Jefferson interpreted and responded to the texts, as indicated by his annotations in the margins, and on scraps of paper found in between the pages of the books.
““Jefferson’s mind had a seamless, all-encompassing quality, making the kind of connections typical of an Enlightenment thinker. What he read in one field he would apply to his thinking in another. Each of these volumes will be of interest to at least five different scholars in at least five different fields,” says Konig, who is editing Jefferson’s Legal Commonplace Book and writing a book on Jefferson’s legal thought and practice, Nature’s Advocate: Thomas Jefferson and the Discovery of American Law.” <http://news.wustl.edu/news/Pages/21917.aspx>
- Jefferson books discovered at WU – St. Louis Post-Dispatch
- A Founding Father’s Books Turn Up – New York Times
- Jefferson’s books found in Mo. university library – Associated Press
- 74 of Thomas Jefferson’s books identified at Washington University library – Washington University in St. Louis, Newsroom