The State of the Union: Reconstructing a Thomas Jefferson Family Library


 In 1880, a gift of about 3000 volumes was given to Washington University from the library of Joseph Coolidge. In 2010 it was discovered that at least 82 volumes of this collection had once belonged to the nation's third president, Thomas Jefferson. Washington University is now the third-largest holder of Jefferson’s books, after the Library of Congress and the University of Virginia. With this 2012 exhibition and the expanded online version of it, we are pleased to privde additional details about the make up of the collection - patterns of ownership and use, distribution of subjects and languages, etc. - and to report on Washington University's ongoing stewardship activities.




By Erin K. Davis, Curator of Rare Books


Photographs of items in the exhibit State of the Union

Books in the Coolidge Library

Books in from the 1880 Coolidge Library donation, including books formerly owned by Thomas Jefferson


Supplementary photographs

Supplementary Materials

Timeline, additional photographs, announcements relating to the discovery of the Jefferson books


Articles, radio, and TV segments on the discovery of the Jefferson books