Thomas Jefferson handwriting

The Library of Congress has hundreds upon hundreds of letters handwritten letters by Thomas Jefferson.

Not only are there tons of letters, but you can click on each one to get a super-size file to download for free! The correspondence I downloaded for this post’s banner image was 1807 x 2014 pixels.

This collection is interesting in so many different ways:

This is the guy who inked the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson was noted for his fancy-dancy penmanship. Here, you get to see the full gamut.

subject matter.
What did Jefferson have to say? It’s hard to read alot of the letters because he handwriting is so stylized.

just a cool collection.
ordinary, mundane things become fun and exciting when you multiple them hundreds of times over. I have a Ryne Sandberg baseball card collection of over 500 individual cards. Each card on their own has limited interest. But looking through the entire collection is fascinating. The sheer volume of this Jefferson collection is impressive unto itself.

nice textures.
look at these letters for their visual value only. Each piece is a work of art. Actually, it would be cool to take bits and pieces of these files and make Photoshop brushes out them. The fact that each sample is hi-res is great for making art. Unfortunately, it looks like they photographed each letter using slide film and then scanned the slides. The quality could be ALOT better.

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Laura K.
Laura K.
18 years ago

how about a font made from his handwriting? it could be called “Jefferson.” or maybe “Declaration.” or maybe “Independence.”


[…] Library of Congress is great. On June 23, 2005 I made a post about the Jefferson Papers from the Library of Congress’ […]