Manuscript/Mixed Material Catalogue.
About this Item
- Throughout his life, Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) collected books on a wide array of topics and in many languages. While serving as the United States minister to France during the American Revolution, he acquired thousands of books for his library at Monticello. By 1814, the final year of the War of 1812 in which the British burned Washington and the Library of Congress, Jefferson owned the largest personal collection of books in the United States. He offered to sell his library to Congress as a replacement for the collection destroyed by the British. Congress accepted the offer, and Jefferson was paid 3,950 for 6,487 volumes. In the 18th century, most libraries were arranged alphabetically. But Jefferson chose to organize his library using a modified version of a system created by British philosopher Francis Bacon (1561-1626). He classified his books according to the categories of Memory, Reason, and Imagination, which Jefferson translated as History, Philosophy, and Fine Arts, and further divided these categories into 44 chapters. Presented here is a catalog of Jefferson's library, copied at his request by Nicholas Trist, who studied law with Jefferson, married one of his granddaughters, and served as an executor of his estate. Trist apparently worked from a copy of the printed 1815 Catalogue of the Library of the United States, prepared by George Watterston, Librarian of Congress, which Jefferson marked in order to restore, in place of its alphabetical arrangement of each subject category, the original order of entries that Jefferson preferred. Trist reported completion of the task in a letter from Louisiana dated October 18, 1823. A fire on Christmas Eve of 1851 destroyed nearly two-thirds of the 6,487 volumes Congress had purchased from Jefferson. World Digital Library.
- Jefferson, Thomas, 1743-1826.
- Trist, Nicholas Philip, 1800-1874.
Created / Published
- - Jefferson, Thomas,--1743-1826--Library--Catalogs
- - Early printed books--Virginia--Bibliography--Catalogs
- - Private libraries--Virginia--Catalogs
- - Caption title.
- - Catalog of the library of Thomas Jefferson, copied at his request by Nicholas Trist. The U.S. Congress having acquired the library in 1814, Trist apparently worked from a copy of the printed 1815 Library of Congress catalog specially marked by Jefferson in order to restore, in place of its alphabetical arrangement of each subject category, the original order of entries that Jefferson preferred. Trist reported his completion of the task in a letter from Louisiana dated Oct. 18, 1823. Cf. Thomas Jefferson Papers.
- - Inscription on 1st of the original flyleaves: Pearce L. Lewis of Ga., 1834, University of Va.
- - Ms.
- - Rebound by the Library of Congress and placed, with separated cover of the former binding, in a case. As before, it is bound together with an unmarked copy of the printed 1815 catalog.
- - The pages are numbered in Jefferson's hand, on rectos only. The page count disregards 2 front flyleaves of variant paper and 6 blank leaves (excluding a large stub) at end.
- - There is a correction in Jefferson's hand on p. .
- - With: Catalogue of the library of the United States. [Washington : U.S. Congress], 1815.
- - Also available in digital form on the Library of Congress Web site.
- - Gift of Frank Goodell, 1917.
- - Original online "With" note gave copy no. as "Copy 8", unclear from gsl and copies on the shelf why it was given this number. vj17 2005-09-02
- 113,  p., bound ; 23 cm.
Call Number/Physical Location
- Z997.J48 J44 1823
Library of Congress Control Number
Additional Metadata Formats
IIIF Presentation Manifest
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Cite This Item
Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.
Chicago citation style:
Jefferson, Thomas, and Nicholas Philip Trist. Catalogue.  Manuscript/Mixed Material. https://www.loc.gov/item/87204942/.
APA citation style:
Jefferson, T. & Trist, N. P. (1823) Catalogue. [Manuscript/Mixed Material] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/87204942/.
MLA citation style:
Jefferson, Thomas, and Nicholas Philip Trist. Catalogue.  Manuscript/Mixed Material. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/87204942/>.