Scrapbooks show Jefferson
was a voracious and sentimental clipper of newspapers
Jefferson probably put together this scrapbook, which is part
of Alderman Library's special collections.
who have worked with old newspaper scrapbooks located in Alderman
Library's special collections department and originally attributed
to Thomas Jefferson and his family have reported the books were,
in fact, assembled by Jefferson himself.
commonplace books contain thousands of newspaper articles on a
wide variety of subjects. They confirm the breadth of Jefferson's
interests, from agriculture to politics, and also show a sentimental
side to the University's founder in, for example, the number of
poems he clipped and saved, according to Robert M.S. McDonald,
a history professor at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point,
who poured over the scrapbooks as a research fellow at Monticello
last summer. The bulk of the articles, some with notes in Jefferson's
handwriting, cover the years when he was president from 1801 to
scrapbooks are spurring new efforts by researchers to identify
dates and origins of some of the newspaper articles. They have
been available for research since the library acquired them in
1952 and are listed in both the library catalog and in the index
to the Jefferson papers. As with all of the rare and valuable
materials found in special
collections, the scrapbooks are available to anyone who visits.
with the scrapbooks, the library possesses a rich collection of
Jefferson materials comprising some 3,650 items. Most are original
documents or contemporary transcripts made by secretaries and
family members. Of the total collection, 1,610 are written by
Jefferson with the rest of the correspondence either to Jefferson
or bearing a direct relationship to him. There are 80 architectural
drawings by Jefferson, most relating to the building of the University.
The library holds Jefferson's personal copy of the only book he
wrote, Notes on the State of Virginia, in which he was constantly
making edits and notes in the margins. A description of and a
guide to the Jefferson holdings in special collections is available
online at: http://www.lib.
special collections department administers over 12 million manuscripts,
2.5 million items in the University archives, and 268,600 rare
books, as well as approximately 3,500 maps, over 4,000 broadsides,
more than 125,000 photographs and small prints, over 8,000 reels
of microfilm, nearly 8,000 microfiche, and substantial holdings
of audio recordings, motion picture films, and other paraphernalia.
collections archives, protects and makes available these rare
materials for study. "Our responsibility is to make our collections
available to scholars who then lend interpretation to the written
matter," said Michael Plunkett, director of special collections.
scholars have accessed and studied the materials in special collections.
Some have a clear idea of what they are looking for and thus what
they will find, while others discover additional information they
were not anticipating.
more details about the special collection department, visit it
on the second floor of Alderman Library, or visit its web site