Topic: Books & Reading

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Bannaker’s Almanac

This 1795 almanac was the fourth in a six-year series published by Benjamin Banneker, a free African American scientist, surveyor, and mathematician from Baltimore. Banneker helped survey the...
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Jefferson to Destutt de Tracy

Jefferson’s university, as this letter shows, would spread Enlightenment ideas and values. The Treatise on Political Economy written by his correspondent—translated by Jefferson in 1817—and Montesquieu’s Spirit of...
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Liberty Displaying the Arts and Sciences

This 1792 painting by Samuel Jennings was the first by an American artist to address the issue of slavery. Broken chains lay at the feet of Liberty, represented...
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The Compleat Auctioner

In this 1750 print, the “Compleat Auctioneer” sells books to women and men seeking “Learning” and “Wit.” The plainly dressed man on the right is not a gentleman....
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The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth

Jefferson selected verses from the New Testament to create this book, which is often called the “Jefferson Bible.” His goal was to separate the words of Jesus and...
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Thomas Jefferson’s Books

Jefferson had thousands of books on various topics in his library at Monticello. These volumes contain the writings of ancient Greek authors, including the historian Thucydides. Jefferson believed...
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Virgil’s Aeneid

This Latin edition of Virgil bears the signatures of both Thomas Jefferson and his close friend Dabney Carr. The two men met as students at a Latin school...
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Webster’s Dictionary

Noah Webster published his American Dictionary of the English Language in 1828. Webster was a strong nationalist. Like the spelling books he had produced since the 1780s, his...