October 15, 2016 – January 15, 2017: One hundred fifty years ago, the largest collection of Thomas Jefferson’s private papers was given to the Massachusetts Historical Society by his great-grandson. The exhibition of The Private Jefferson is your once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to view this collection in Mr. Jefferson’s beloved Virginia. See three copies of the Declaration of Independence, 35 architectural drawings of Virginia landmarks, and much more. Tickets are on sale now, and the exhibition opens on Saturday, October 15.
As author of the Declaration of Independence, architect of the Virginia State Capitol, founder of the University of Virginia, and third president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson is one of history’s best-known figures. Surprisingly, the largest collection of Jefferson’s private papers (more than 8,000 pieces) cannot be found in the Commonwealth, but is instead in the collection of the Massachusetts Historical Society.
For the first time since the late 1800s, the most significant pieces from the Coolidge Collection of Thomas Jefferson Manuscripts are returning to Virginia and will be on display at the Virginia Historical Society in the exhibition The Private Jefferson: From the Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society.
Among the five dozen items on display are:
• Jefferson’s handwritten copy of the Declaration of Independence as originally drafted
• John Adams’s handwritten copy of the Declaration of Independence as it was presented to Congress
• One of only 26 known copies of the first printed version of the Declaration of Independence
• Thirty-five architectural drawings of Virginia landmarks designed by Jefferson, including Monticello, the Virginia Capitol, and the University of Virginia
• Jefferson’s manuscript for his book Notes on the State of Virginia
• Jefferson’s meticulous farm and garden journals
This exhibition offers a once in a lifetime opportunity to see these important American documents in one place.
The Private Jefferson is organized by the Massachusetts Historical Society. Admission: Free for VHS members; $10 for nonmembers; $8 for groups of 10 or more. Tickets may be purchased online or by calling 804.358.4901..Admission is free for children under the age of 12.