Cover image for Jefferson abroad
Jefferson abroad
Jefferson, Thomas, 1743-1826.
Modern Library edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Modern Library, 1999.
Physical Description:
xxiii, 338 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E332.45 .J44 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Selections from Jefferson's letters describe his experiences and observations visiting France in 1784.

Author Notes

Politician, philosopher, farmer, architect, and author, Jefferson was born to Peter and Jane Randolph Jefferson on April 13, 1743, in Tuckahoe, Virginia. As Jefferson observed in his autobiography, his parents could "trace their pedigree far back in England and Scotland." At the age of 16, Thomas Jefferson entered William and Mary College; at age 24, Jefferson was admitted to the bar; at 25, he was elected to the Virginia Assembly.

Renowned for his political contributions to the American colonies, and later, to the embryonic Republic, Jefferson published in 1774 A Summary View of the Rights of British America, celebrating the inalienable natural rights claimed by the colonialists. In 1775 Jefferson was elected to the Continental Congress; in 1776 he joined the five-person committee responsible for drafting the Declaration of Independence---a document that is widely regarded as being largely Jefferson's own work. In 1779 Jefferson was elected governor of the state of Virginia, and in subsequent years he distinguished himself both as a cosmopolitan international politician and as a man committed to the future of Virginia. In 1789 he was appointed U.S. secretary of state, in 1797 he served as vice president under President John Adams, and in 1801 he was elected third president of the United States.

Jefferson's literary career was no less stellar than his political accomplishments. He authored tracts and books on such diverse subjects as gardening, the life of Jesus, the history of Virginia, and the practices of farming. The precise descriptions of nature that inform his Notes on the State of Virginia (1787) are frequently credited with foreshadowing the Hudson River school of aesthetics.

Thomas Jefferson died on the fourth of July. His grave marker, engraved with words of his own choosing, states, "Here lies Thomas Jefferson, Author of the Declaration of American Independence, of the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom and Father of the University of Virginia."

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Selected from the monumental Papers of Thomas Jefferson, these 111 pieces hail from Jefferson's five-year ambassadorial stint in France. This period entrances biographers because the self-contained Jefferson let down his hair in an infatuation with Maria Cosway, an English artist, and the editors accordingly include his please-love-me letters, among them the obligatory "Dialogue between my Head and my Heart." A curious traveler as well as an unrequited lover, Jefferson's junkets around Europe still excite interest (e.g., Thomas Jefferson's Journey to the South of France by Roy and Alma Moore [BKL Je 1 & 15 99]), as do his observations on the opening act of the French Revolution. The selectors juice up their volume with other screeds Jeffersonians will appreciate, such as Jefferson's gossipy opinion of John Adams, his critique of the Constitution, and his reports to the government on the diplomatic situation. The variety immunizes this volume against boredom and makes it worth the consideration of smaller libraries that could never give the massive Papers a backward glance. --Gilbert Taylor

Library Journal Review

Thomas Jefferson, best known as the author of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and as our third president, was an extraordinarily accomplished man with wide-ranging interests. From 1784 to 1789, he was America's envoy to France, during which time he also traveled widely on the European continent. From his extensive writings during these years, editors Wilson and Stanton (both with the International Center for Jefferson Studies in Monticello) have selected and annotated 110 of Jefferson's writings, mostly letters but also reports and papers on current developments in art, science, and agriculture in France and other European countries. In these graceful and engaging writings, the editors believe, he revealed much of his personality and thought. Recommended for American history collections in all libraries.ÄHarry Frumerman, formerly with Hunter Coll., New York (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.