Science and Inventions
Subject Source: Local sources
Found in 21 Collections and/or Records:
Scope and Contents Jefferson sought to prevent expansion of European colonization in America, in addition to gathering scientific information (botany, zoology, geography and geology), by sending a government-sponsored exploratory party to the American West. He issued a confidential message to Congress in 1803, requesting funds for an expedition to send men to explore the territory that extended to the Pacific Ocean. His initial message to Congress did not emphasize the scientific nature of the expedition;...
Dates: E332.2 .A5 2003A
Scope and Contents The larvae of the Hessian fly (Mayetolia destructor), which destroyed wheat crops, began spreading across America from the Northeast in the late 18th and early 19th centuries (it reached Monticello around 1811 and now resides wherever wheat is grown in the United States). Jefferson took an interest in studying and stopping or eliminating the pest but, overwhelmed by political duties (and Federalist stabs at his scientific pursuits of all kinds), left Thomas Mann Randolph and Samuel L. Mitchell...
Dates: E332.2 .A5 1991N
Beyond the Falls: The Peopling of Jefferson's Virginia by James Horn, (November 1999), E332.2 .A5 1999N
Scope and Contents Records of Jefferson’s ancestral origins across the Atlantic are scant at best, but it is certain that the Jeffersons and Randolphs in America laid the foundations for the future president’s ideals and prominence in political society. Their focus on the land, their interest in pushing west (they were pioneering farmers and planters in the Piedmont region and Peter Jefferson helped create the most authoritative map of Virginia of his time, becoming involved in westward expeditions), and their...
Dates: E332.2 .A5 1999N
Scope and Contents Dr. Benjamin Smith Barton, professor of botany and natural history at University of Pennsylvania, and Samuel Latham Mitchill, physician-naturalist and Congressman, both lauded Jefferson for his passion for and contribution to the science of botany. Barton honored him by naming the twinleaf plant Jeffersonia dyphylla (in the Linnaean nomenclature, introduced in 1753, that Jefferson so admired).
Dates: E332.2 .A5 1992A
Scope and Contents Ever in search of improvements and innovations in the agricultural life of his country, Jefferson took special interest in importing dry, mountain, or upland rice to replace the cultivation of the coastal rice in America (the swampy plantations were breeding grounds for malaria). He beseeched the Vietnamese Prince Nguyen Anh for the dry rice of Cochin China, with the aid of friend Benjamin Vaughan received from Sir Joseph Banks (influential in English plant exploration and in many ways similar...
Dates: E332.2 .A5 1990A
"Delicious Flowering Shrubs" and Cape Bulbs in the Monticello Greenhouse by Peggy Cornett Newcomb, (April 1997), E332.2 .A5 1997A
Scope and Contents Jefferson’s interest in all things botanical meant that his garden and greenhouse contained a number of unusual plants that originated in other parts of the world. Many of the European elite maintained greenhouses (orangeries) from the 18th century onward, and Jefferson planned to establish a greenhouse at Monticello to permit him to grow more delicate plants, seeds, and bulbs throughout the year. Initially he planned to have a free-standing, two-story structure on Mulberry Row but ultimately...
Dates: E332.2 .A5 1997A
Scope and Contents The identification of longitude was one of the serious endeavors of scientists both professional, such as Astronomer Royal Nevil Maskelyne of Greenwich, and amateur, including Thomas Jefferson. While Maskelyne collected calculations of astronomical phenomena and projected the moon’s position in Nautical Almanac and Astronomical Ephemeris (which, along with John Harrison’s 1773 "discovery of longitude" with a consistently accurate time-piece, proved invaluable to navigation), Jefferson toured...
Dates: E332.2 .A5 1996A
Kenwood by Ann Lucas, and The Currency of Reason by Lucia C. Stanton, (April 1994), E332.2 .A5 1994A
Scope and Contents First essay: General Watson, senior military aide to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, built Kenwood in 1939 as a weekend retreat. FDR stayed at Kenwood at least four times between 1941-45, including the weekend before D-Day (June 6, 1944). Second essay: Jefferson sought to bring uniform standards to the currency of the new country. During his visits to Europe, he collected coins from various countries and investigated ways to create coinage. The lack of a uniform currency hampered the economy...
Dates: E332.2 .A5 1994A
Scope and Contents Jefferson had mixed feelings about dogs, as they were both dangerous -- as predators when not properly fed and as disease-carriers when rabid -- and useful farm animals. He obtained Bergère, an intelligent and industrious sheep dog from France, whom the slave Isaac recalls along with some of Jefferson’s other eccentrically named pets and animals. Though Jefferson sympathized with Judge Richard Peters (who in 1810 complained of the dangers of dogs to sheep) and Peter Minor of Albemarle (who...
Dates: E332.2 .A5 1989N
Scope and Contents John Isaac Hawkins of Philadelphia, a multitalented friend of Jefferson’s with a knack for machinery and music, invented a small upright piano which Jefferson bought from him in 1800. Hawkins wrote a piece for the instrument with lyrics by Rembrandt Peale, but the upright would not stay in tune and proved, as did Hawkins’ claviol later, a poor investment.
Dates: E332.2 .A 1972A
Scope and Contents In six accounts, denoted by different locations, dates, and musical arrangements played and by whom, various instruments played or related to those played by members of the Jefferson family are discussed. A 1786 Kirckman was purchased by Jefferson and played by Martha Jefferson in Paris in 1789, and yet another given to Maria Jefferson in 1798. Jefferson encouraged musicianship in his daughters and subsequent generations (Martha, Maria, Ellen Randolph and her aunt Virginia Cary were all skilled...
Dates: E332.2 .A5 1991A
Scope and Contents The mutual respect and friendship as well as the political partnership between Jefferson and Madison are well documented in the personal letters and exchange of writings (as they were published) and goods during Jefferson’s residence in Paris as Minister to France in 1784. While Madison reported on the Virginia Assembly, the Confederation Congress, and Constitutional Convention, Jefferson enthusiastically bought books and little inventions to send home to his friend. Upon reading and taking...
Dates: E332.2 .A5 1987N
Scope and Contents Dr. Benjamin Rush, longtime friend of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, was the foremost advocate for introduction of maple sugar as a substitute for the slave-produced cane sugar of the West Indies, and was also a vocal proponent of temperance (highlighting spirits as the real concern). Jefferson shared Rush’s ideals and joined him in his campaign to commercially destroy black slavery in the West Indies, purchasing maple sugar and attempting to grow the trees at Monticello, though Jefferson’s...
Dates: E332.2 .A5 1990N
Scope and Contents Jefferson sought to raise sheep at Monticello and in Washington, D.C. because of his ardent interest in agriculture and animal husbandry. The desire for fine wool in America precipitated an agricultural craze for the importation of Merino sheep from Spain during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Jefferson hoped to profit from the sale of wool, while simultaneously demonstrating his patriotic spirit (by wearing American-made cloth) and scientific interest in adding new stock to existing...
Dates: E332.2 .A5 2000N
Scope and Contents Jefferson’s passion for the study of birds and climate led him to link the two in the manner of a phenologist. He collected mockingbirds (he owned several as pets and had a special favorite, Dick, who had a remarkable ability to imitate tunes and sounds), studied the winter habits of the purple martin, and enjoyed the sight and song of many others, including swallows and whippoorwills. Jefferson exchanged conjectures regarding the identity of various birds with Alexander Wilson, who sent...
Dates: E332.2 .A5 1988N
Scope and Contents Jefferson was a life-long admirer, student, and designer of architecture. His ever-evolving plans for Monticello included his own simplified version of the Delorme dome (which he saw at Halle au Blé, Paris in 1786 and to which he refers in his famous “Head and Heart” letter to Maria Cosway, excerpt included), the serrated “zig-zag” he invented for the low-grade roof, and the tin-coated iron shingles he used and advocated (first applied by Ase Brooks but later by “a common negro man”). Though...
Dates: E332.2 .A5 1992N
Scope and Contents Jefferson took delight in farming and kept careful accounts of conditions and production, as evident in comments by La Rochefoucauld and in Jefferson’s Farm Book, a topically arranged agricultural book and broad record of his plantations’ activities. This book as well as his Garden Book, the "Mouldboard plow of least resistance," and the concept of the agriculture school are among Jefferson’s contributions to agricultural science. Includes mention of the Agricultural Revolution, George...
Dates: E332.2 .A5 1977A
Scope and Contents Thomas Jefferson, "the father of weather observers," was an amateur meteorologist committed to climate observation and documentation at home and abroad. Although meteorological instruments were never perfected in his day (he experimented with three types of hygrometers in Paris), Jefferson meticulously recorded his observations, including temperature and conditions, twice a day and analyzed his data for averages and correlations between weather and biological events.
Dates: E332.2 .A5 1982N
Scope and Contents Captain Joseph Miller and his daughter came to the US on the Lydia in 1813 and finally reached Albemarle County after many delays and disasters brought on by the war with Britain. Miller was well received and Jefferson, pursuing his interest in useful scientific pursuits and a desire to experiment with brewing his own beer at Monticello, soon befriended the British brewer. Miller trained Peter Hemings, who went on to produce fine, much-demanded ale (at first with wheat malt and eventually corn...
Dates: E332.2 .A5 1995A
Scope and Contents Jefferson attended many lectures and exhibitions, the 18th century proto-museums, at home and abroad. He particularly enjoyed those featuring live creatures such as sea mammals, jungle quadrupeds, and various birds, and was fond of observing unusual or talented hogs and horses. Jefferson made careful study of American mammals to prove that they were not degenerating compared to European mammals (as the Comte de Buffon argued) but were in fact superior in size and strength. He also proposed that...
Dates: E332.2 .A5 1986N