Prologue Magazine

Jefferson Buys Louisiana Territory, Part 2

Spring 2003, Vol. 35, No. 1

By Wayne T. De Cesar and Susan Page

Here's where you can see some of the original Louisiana Purchase documents:

Cover of Louisiana Purchase Treaty The velvet cover of the French exchange copy of the Louisiana Purchase Treaty is embroidered "P.F." for "Peuple Français." (General Records of the United States Government, RG 11)

The Convention for Payment of Sums due to U.S. Citizens (in English) is currently traveling with NARA's "American Originals" traveling exhibit. It is showing at Union Station in Kansas City, Missouri, through May 4, and will open at the Witte Museum in San Antonio on May 31 and run through September 1. It will then be at the Los Angeles Public Library from October 4, 2003, to January 4, 2004, then travel to the Center for American Political Life in Hartford, Connecticut, in early 2004.

Other Louisiana Purchase documents will be on exhibition at the following institutions through NARA's loan program:

Old State Capitol Building, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, through May 2003: Procès verbal transferring the Louisiana Territory from France to the United States, December 20, 1803, signed in New Orleans; the Senate resolution approving the Louisiana Purchase treaty on October 20, 1803; interior pages of the French version of the Treaty of Cession (in French); pages 2 and 3 of the convention (in English) of the agreement of the United States for payment of sixty million francs, April 30, 1803.

Historic New Orleans Collection, through June 2003: Power of attorney given to Alexander Baring on August 12, 1803; the warrant from President Thomas Jefferson to Treasury Secretary Albert Gallatin on issuing certificates of stock, January 16, 1804; and Robert Livingston's receipt for the stock certificates delivered to him in France, April 25, 1804.

Johnson Library, Austin, Texas, through August 2003: Various Louisiana Purchase and Lewis and Clark Expedition documents, including pages 2 and 3 of the convention (in French) for payment of sixty million francs, April 30, 1803; Meriwether Lewis's speech to the Otoes, 1804; a message from Jefferson to Congress, 1806; and various lists of supplies for the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

New Orleans Museum of Art, April to August 2003: Exchange copy of the convention for payment of sums due to U.S. citizens.

Old State Capitol, Little Rock, Arkansas, April and May 2003: Pages 4 and 5 of the treaty of cession (in English), April 30, 1805; pages 2 and 3 of the convention for payment of sixty million francs, in French; and the first page of the convention for payment of sums due to U.S. citizens.

Missouri Historical Society, St. Louis. An exhibition that will run from January 22 to September 6, 2004, in St. Louis, then tour to Philadelphia; Denver; Portland, Oregon; and Washington, D.C. through September 2006: Various Lewis and Clark Expedition documents on a rotating basis: eighteen in the first year, twelve in the second year, and nine in the third year.

Louisiana Purchase and Lewis and Clark Expedition documents can also be viewed online at in the Exhibit Hall, the Digital Classroom, and at Our Documents.

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Articles published in Prologue do not necessarily represent the views of NARA or of any other agency of the United States Government.