Today’s Document from the National Archives

Document for December 29th:
Note from Thomas Jefferson regarding the disposition of his Presidential papers, December 29, 1801


Note from Thomas Jefferson regarding the disposition of his Presidential papers, December 29, 1801; General Records of the Department of State; Record Group 59; National Archives.

Dated December 29, 1801, this letter from President Thomas Jefferson notes the lack of procedures or a "safe deposit" for his Presidential papers. His concerns were well founded. Before the advent of the Presidential Library system, it had been customary for Presidents to take these records with them as their personal property. The records were often passed from one generation to the next with little concern for their value to the history of the nation. Some presidential collections were well preserved by their heirs, but others were broken up and dispersed, or were partially destroyed.

Thomas Jefferson on Preserving Government Records...
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