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Howard C. Rice Collection

Identifier: SC HCR

Scope and Contents

Twenty-seven research binders created by Howard C. Rice, Jr. as part of work for his book, Thomas Jefferson's Paris, include copies of artwork and engravings used in the book, original photography from Rice's own travels, notes, and correspondence, both handwritten and typed, and various newspapers and magazine clippings.  Another eighteen notebooks for Rice's edition of the Marquis de Chastellux's Travels in North America in the Years 1780, 1781, and 1782 include maps, notes, and original photographs from Rice's retracing of Chastellux's steps.  Additional working files relating to his two publications, as well as articles published by him, are in four file drawers and two archival boxes, and these include various maps, notes, correspondence, drafts, slides, microfilm, and index cards.

The book collection, numbering some 450 monographs and pamphlets, relate to Thomas Jefferson, Monticello, eighteenth-century France, and to Jefferson's contemporaries, such as the Marquis de Lafayette, Benjamin Franklin, and John Adams.


  • Creation: 1933 - 1978

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access:

The Howard C. Rice Collection is a restricted access archival collection available on request by researchers for on-site use.  Photocopying is permitted for reference use only upon receipt of staff approval.  Some items may not be copied because of physical condition.

Conditions Governing Use:

Special permission may be granted for duplicating material found within research notebooks, or for reproducing certain images in the collection.

Approved use requires printing the following acknowledgement with each citation or image:  "From the Howard C. Rice Collection, Jefferson Library, courtesy Thomas Jefferson Foundation, Inc."

Administrative History:

Howard Crosby Rice, Jr. was born on October 24, 1904 in Brattleboro, Vermont.  He obtained his A.B. from Dartmouth College in 1926, and received the degree of Docteur de l’Université de Paris in 1933 with his thesis, Le Cultivateur américain: Etude sur l’oeuvre de Saint John de Crèvecoeur.  Rice held several teaching positions in both American and French schools before his term at Harvard University from 1936 to 1942 as Faculty Instructor in French and Tutor in History and Literature.  After World War II, Rice served as Director of the United States Information Library in Paris in the U.S. Embassy.

From 1948 until his retirement in 1970, Rice was an Associate Professor at Princeton University, and served as the Assistant Librarian for Rare Books and Special Collections.  He also served as editorial consultant to The Papers of Thomas Jefferson editorial project at Princeton University.  His publications include numerous articles and book reviews on historical, literary, artistic, and bibliographical subjects.  Author of more than a half dozen scholarly studies, his later historical editing work dealing with various aspects of Franco-American relations, include Travels in North America in the years 1780, 1781 and 1782, and The American campaigns of Rochambeau’s army, 1780-1783.  His book, Thomas Jefferson’s Paris, published by Princeton University Press in 1976, was honored as the first recipient of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation Award for Creative Scholarship in 1978.  Howard C. Rice died in November 1980 at the age of 76.

In describing his collection of books and papers, Rice wrote: “It is a mixed bag of ‘working papers’ and the accumulation of reference materials gathered along the way as I have pursued historical studies relating to Thomas Jefferson, his contemporaries, and their eighteenth-century world.  The central thread, if there is one, is Jefferson’s five years in France and his personal and intellectual relations with the French.” 1

Rice’s research for his 1933 thesis on Saint John de Crèvecoeur first brought him into contact with some of Thomas Jefferson’s letters.  Further contact with Jefferson letters came in 1934 when Rice worked on a collection of manuscripts by the Marquis de Lafayette for an exhibition to commemorate the centenary of Lafayette’s death.  In 1946, Rice was invited to work with Julian Boyd on The Papers of Thomas Jefferson editorial project at Princeton University, and to help locate as many Jefferson letters as possible.

His research illuminated the social scene of which Jefferson was a part during his years in Paris, and led to questions about the physical and geographical places in which those social interactions occurred.  Boyd suggested that they attempt to locate and identify the principal buildings and residences in which Jefferson had an interest or where he was accustomed to do business or entertain.  Rice’s research led to the accumulation of books, pamphlets, maps of Paris, photographs of prints and paintings, which he eventually distilled into his book, Thomas Jefferson’s Paris, published in 1976.  This research material also found its way into the catalogue of the 1976 National Gallery of Art exhibition, The Eye of Thomas Jefferson.

Jefferson’s friend and contemporary, the Marquis de Chastellux, has also been of special interest to Rice.  The working papers accumulated during the process of editing the 1963 edition of Chastellux’s Travels in North America in the Years 1780, 1781, and 1782 might be thought of as “the counterpart of the topographical notebooks illustrating Jefferson’s travels in Europe” 2.  The research binders pertaining to this part of the Howard C. Rice Collection include the documentation for Rice’s bibliography for Travels, and illustrate Chastellux’s journeys from New England south to Virginia, including eighteenth-century views and modern photographs taken in the course of Rice’s own journeys.

Rice’s investigations into eighteenth-century life on both sides of the Atlantic can also be found in his books, and numerous articles and book reviews on historical, literary, artistic, and bibliographical subjects, some of which are listed in the selected bibliography in this finding aid.

1 Introduction/preface for Catalogue of HCRJr. Collection – p. 8  [enclosed in HCR letter to Jim Bear, 26 September, 1980]

2 Ibid.

Selected Bibliography

Butterfield, L. H., and Howard C. Rice, Jr.  “Jefferson’s Earliest Note to Maria Cosway, with some New Facts and Conjectures on His Broken Wrist,” William & Mary Quarterly, 3d ser., 5, no. 1 (January 1948): 26-33.

Bizardel, Yvon, and Howard C. Rice, Jr.  “Poor in Love Mr. Short,” William & Mary Quarterly, 3d ser., 21, no. 4 (October 1964): 516-533.

Rice, Howard C., Jr., and Brown, Anne S. K, ed.  The American Campaigns of Rochambeau’s Army, 1780, 1781, 1782, 1783.  Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1972.

Rice, Howard C., Jr., “Le Cultivateur américain: Etude sur l’oeuvre de Saint John de Crèvecoeur,” Bibliothèque de la Revue de Littérature Comparée, ed. Baldensperger and Hazard.  Paris: Champion, 1933.

---.  L’Hôtel de Langeac, Jefferson’s Paris Residence, Résidence de Jefferson à Paris, 1785-1789.  Paris: H. Lefebvre; Monticello, Va: Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation, 1947.

---.  “A ‘New’ Likeness of Thomas Jefferson,” William & Mary Quarterly, 3d ser., 6, no. 1 (January 1949): 84-89.

---.  “Jefferson in Europe a Century and a Half Later: Notes of a Roving Researcher,” Princeton University Library Chronicle 12 (Autumn 1950): 19-35.

---.  “The Paris Depository for Notarial Archives,” The American Archivist 15, no. 2 (April 1951): 99-104.

---.  “An Album of Saint-Mémin Portraits,” Princeton University Library Chronicle 13, no. 1 (Autumn 1951): 23-32.

---.  “Jefferson’s Gift of Fossil Bones to the Museum of Natural History in Paris,” Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 95 (December 1951): 597-627.

---.  “A French Source of Jefferson’s Plan for the Prison at Richmond,” Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, 12 (December 1953): 28-30.

---.  “Les Visites de Jefferson au Mont-Valérien,” Bulletin de la Société Historique de Suresnes 3, no. 13 (1953-1954): 46-49.

---.  Introduction to Adams Family in Auteuil, 1784-1785, as told in the letters of Abigail Adams. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 1956.

---.  “Thomas Jefferson à Strasbourg (1788),” Cahiers Alsaciens d’Archéologie d’Art de d’Histoire (1958): 137-153.

---.  “Saint-Mémin’s Portrait of Jefferson,” Princeton University Library Chronicle 20, no. 4 (Summer 1959): 182-192.

---.  Introduction to Green Mountain Boy at Monticello.  A Talk With Jefferson in 1822, by Daniel Pierce Thompson.  Brattleboro, Vermont: The Book Cellar, 1962.

---.  “Adieux de Jefferson à la France,” Les Amis du Musée de Blérancourt (1965): 9-10.

---.  “A Virginia Country Gentleman: Notes on a Portrait by Saint-Mémin,” Princeton University Library Chronicle 31, no. 3 (Spring 1970): 155-164.

---.  Thomas Jefferson’s Paris.  Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1976.

---, ed. Travels in North America in the Years 1780, 1781, and 1782, by the Marquis de Chastellux.  Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1963.


51.00 Linear Feet


The Howard C. Rice Collection consists of research materials created and compiled by Howard C. Rice, Jr., as well as the book collection he owned.  The collection was donated by Rice to the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation in 1978.

Arrangement of Materials:

The Howard C. Rice Collection consists of the following:

Part A

Research notebooks for Thomas Jefferson's Paris (27 binders)

Part B

Research notebooks for the Rice edition of Travels in North America in the Years 1780, 1781 and 1782, referred to in this finding aid as Chastellux's Travels (18 binders)

Part C

Additional binders relating to various publications, including the master copy and index for Thomas Jefferson's Paris, notes for Rice's lecture at the Williamsburg Antiques Forum (1976), and The Eye of Thomas Jefferson catalogue entries for the National Gallery of Art.

Part D

Research folders (originally in 8 archival boxes):

Box 1, Folders 1- 13

Box 1, Folders 14-37

Box 1, Folders 38-49

Box 2, Section 1-5

Box 2, Sections 6-11, Articles, etc., Folders 1-4

Box 2, Sections 12-13; Box 2A, Sections 1-2

Box 2A, Section 3

Box 3

Box 3A, Folders 1-12

Box 3A, Section 2, Folders 13-49

Box 3A, Section 2, Folders 50-55; Sections 3 & 4

Box 4, Folders 1-19

Box 4, Folders 20-45

Box 4, Folders 46a-47; Box 5, folders 1-13

Box 5, Folders 14-37

Box 5A, card index files; Box 6 , photographs, negatives, microfilm; Box 7, Folders 1-11

Box 7, Folders 12=23

Box 7, Folders 24-34

Box 8, Folders 1-12

Box 8 Folders 13-25

Part E

Archive collection of slides, microfilm and index cards (2 boxes)

Part F

Books and pamphlets (450 titles)

In describing this collection, every effort has been made to preserve Howard C. Rice's original organization, as well as his own content descriptions for his research notebooks.  As such, references to box numbers in Part D of this collection refer to how the original folders in this section were organized when the collection was first transferred to the Foundation in 1978.

Custodial History:

Received from Howard C. Rice, Jr. by James A. Bear, Curator, Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation, Inc.

Physical Description

55 binders, 24 archival boxes, and 450 books

Guide to the Howard C. Rice Collection
Margaret Howard
August 2004
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Archives Repository

Jefferson Library, Thomas Jefferson Foundation
Post Office Box 316
Charlottesville VA 22902
(434) 984-7543