Campaign priority

Completing Jefferson’s Papers

Campaign priority

Completing Jefferson’s Papers

Among the campaign’s most critical priorities was the completion of funding for the Papers of Thomas Jefferson: Retirement Series. Jefferson’s words and ideas are his greatest legacy, yet the vast majority of Jefferson’s retirement-era papers have never been published. They offer a vital portrait of the events, conflicts, actions, and reactions of our founding era.

History cannot be fully portrayed until the Papers are complete.

Begun by Monticello in 1999, this editorial project prepares and publishes more than 13,000 surviving letters and documents that Jefferson wrote and received during his post-presidential years (1809-1826). The breadth of his correspondence with American and foreign statesmen, inventors, educators, family, and ordinary citizens during this period is truly astonishing. The Retirement Series is one of the most historically significant initiatives we have undertaken at Monticello—empowering Jefferson to “speak for himself” on subjects ranging from the founding of the University of Virginia to state and national politics.

To date, more than a dozen Retirement Series volumes—containing over 5,000 accurately transcribed and annotated documents—have been published. A new volume is released annually, and the anticipated completion date for the project is 2026, the bicentennial of Jefferson’s death. A free internet edition of the volumes, produced in collaboration with the National Archives, will advance the Foundation’s goal of circulating Jefferson’s ideas to the widest possible audience.

Campaign support has fully funded the publication of all 23 Retirement Series volumes, as well as a permanent named endowment: the Daniel P. Jordan Editor of the Papers of Thomas Jefferson at Monticello. Together, we’ve ensured the stewardship of Jefferson’s written legacy into the future.

All Priorities

“These are not ordinary historical documents. They are the sources of who we are and what we believe in.”
—Gordon S. Wood, Ph.D.


Fully funded all 23 "Retirement Series" volumes Named and endowed the Daniel P. Jordan Editor of the Papers of Thomas Jefferson at Monticello

Every gift matters.