The Jefferson Letters

October 30, 2014 - January 16, 2015

Back to Past Exhibitions

In conjunction with this year’s 25th Anniversary History Day celebration, the City Museum is exhibiting a series of eight rarely seen letters written by Thomas Jefferson to Robert R, Livingston, a New York lawyer and Jefferson’s choice as “Minister Plenipotentiary” to France. In this remarkable correspondence, Jefferson and Livingston laid out a foreign policy that defined the direction—even the very shape—of the emerging United States. Jefferson writes about a number of remarkable and historically important topics, including: the Louisiana Purchase, the Napoleonic Wars, early debates over the Constitution, the unearthing of a buried mammoth skeleton in upstate New York, the technical details of the first steam engine, the development of new codes for delivering secret messages to American diplomats living overseas, and much more.

Learn more about New York City History Day here.


  • "Thomas Jefferson Called Dibs on Mammoth Skull, Historic Letters Show” Gustavo Solis, DNAinfo

Read the press release.


Get a closer look at Thomas Jefferson's letters.
Download the full transcripts of the letters here.

Join MCNY!

Want free or discounted tickets, special event invites, and more?