THE BRITISH LIBRARY

American Collections blog

13 April 2010

Thomas Jefferson's Birthday [updated]

If you follow the Gregorian Calendar then today marks the 267th anniversary of Thomas Jefferson's birthday (13 April 1743).  The Library is fortunate enough to hold a contemporary copy of his Notes on the State of Virginia, which Jefferson inscribed to Col. Smith (most likely John Adam's inept son-in-law), and I was perhaps even more fortunate to have a visit to Montalto, overlooking Jefferson's beloved Monticello just before Easter.  Not only does the visitor witness a panorama of the Blue Mountains in the distance, but also enjoys a bird's-eye view of the house and gardens, planted not only with Jefferson's favourite vegetable, peas, but also more exotic produce like wormwood.  The vines now also produce grapes for wine, something that Jefferson aspired to, but never achieved.  Here's a photo:

View of Monticello, VA
And the plants:

P3256138

Elsewhere on the web, the NYPL has tweeted a link to its digitized Jeffersonian material. And Jefferson's papers are being put online at UVA's Rotunda project.  The manuscript of Notes on the State of Virginia is online at the Massachusetts Historical Society's brilliant website.

[M.S.]

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