Biography and History

The Thomas Jefferson Papers Project was conceived of in 1943 by Princeton University history professor Julian P. Boyd, who was serving at the time as the historian of the Thomas Jefferson Bicentennial Commission. The aim of the project was and remains to compile a comprehensive and authoritative edition containing not only the 18,000 letters written by Jefferson but also, in full or in summary, the more than 25,000 letters written to him, resulting in an unmatched source of scholarship on the nation's third president. With a 200,000 dollar contribution from the New York Times, Boyd became the editor of the project, a position he would hold until his death in 1980. The ongoing project completed 35 volumes in its first 60 years, with an anticipated 40 more to be published before the project is completed. As one of the first and largest undertakings of its kind, the Jefferson Papers Project has established a model for thoroughness that many similar projects for other historical figures have followed.

Source: From the finding aid for AC218

  • The Papers of Thomas Jefferson Project Editor's Records. 1943-1974 (inclusive).

    Call Number: AC218

    The Thomas Jefferson Papers Project was conceived of in 1943 by Princeton University history professor Julian P. Boyd, who was serving at the time as the historian of the Thomas Jefferson Bicentennial Commission. Contained in the records is correspondence with Princeton presidents Harold T. Dodds and Robert F. Goheen, who were active advisors in the early years of the project. Also included are financial records, including Boyd's original cost estimations for the project. Other materials consist of an initial project proposal, annual reports, directives on handling of materials, typography, and editing procedures, and some photographs.