Jefferson, Thomas (1743-1826) to Cummings, Hilliard & Company
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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC00782.12 Author/Creator: Jefferson, Thomas (1743-1826) Place Written: Monticello, Virginia Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 17 January 1825 Pagination: 1 p. ; 24.6 x 20.3 cm.
Mentions ordering books for the schools of art and modern languages and ancient and modern history. Writes concerning courses in law at the University of Virginia and the need for books, especially "Thomas' edition of Coke Littleton published not long since in London. it is the first book which will be put into the hands of our law Students, and will in fact be the elementary book of the school" and is therefore "the most essential and most immediately necessary..." Notes that they will need to order the edition from London and gives a detailed description and how much it would cost. Also requests several other works.
Notes: Not in Bergh. Largely on Jefferson's initiative, the Boston bookselling firm of Cummings, Hilliard & Company became the principal supplier of books to the new University of Virginia. Cometti, Jefferson's Ideas on a University Library: Letters from the Founder of the University of Virginia to a Boston Bookseller does not reprint this letter. A professor of law was not appointed until April 1826 when John T. Lomax accepted the position. See Cometti, Jefferson's Ideas on a University Library (not published there).
Monticello Jan. 17. 25.
Messrs. Cummings Hilliard & co.
I wrote to you three days ago, inclosing the catalogues for our schools of ant[ien]t & modern languages and antient & modern history. But it did not occur to me then that I might go somewhat further toward enabling you to begin to prepare a supply for us. The Professor of Law is not yet in place; and altho' I cannot give you a full catalogue of what his school will call for, I can give a part which I know will be wanting. And as one of these books, the most essential and most immediately necessary is not to be had as yet in our book stores, and will require therefore to be imported from England, I think it advisable to lose no time in giving you notice of it. This is Thomas' edition of Coke Littleton published not long since in London. It is the first book which will be put into the hands of our law students, and will in fact be the elementary book of the school. It is in 3 large vols 8vo. and costs 4 guineas in London in boards; consequently an expensive book, yet indispensable. Besides these the 2d, 3d & 4th of Coke's institutes, Bacon's abridgment, Blackstone's commentaries (not Tucker's edition) Wooddeson's lectures, all the tracts of Chief Baron Gilbert, the Abridgment of Cases in equity in 2. v. folio (I do not know that they have been republished in 8vo) and Law-dictionaries, some at large, others abridged, will be wanting. But all these you can probably command in the country as called for, and it is only on account of the Coke Littleton that I now write.
I saw some years ago, announced in an English paper, a translation of Bracton, by a gentleman of the inner temple; but I have never seen the book itself, nor any mention of it in any catalogue; and therefore I am not certain of it's existence. If it does exist, a copy or two would be desirable; one of which I should be glad to take myself. Accept my friendly salutations.
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