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Jefferson, Thomas (1743-1826) to William Smith

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC01724 Author/Creator: Jefferson, Thomas (1743-1826) Place Written: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 28 April 1791 Pagination: 1 p. 24 x 20 cm

Summary of Content: Writing to Smith of the College of Philadelphia, Jefferson describes John Wales Eppes's (his son-in-law's) knowledge of mathematics, the sciences, and natural philosophy. Tells him that when Smith's courses cover an area known to Eppes, Eppes will be reading materials given to him by Jefferson.

Full Transcript: Philadelphia Apr. 28. 1791
Dear Sir
As the time allotted for mr Eppes's stay here is short in proportion to the objects of it, I am desirous of husbanding every hour of ...it possible. Lest I should not have explained myself sufficiently as to his objects at the college, I take the liberty of doing it now. In Mathematics he possesses already the first 6. & the 11th. & 12th. books of Euclid (having been four times over them in different schools) plain trigonometry, and as far as Quadratic equations in algebra. The latter may be usefully carried to Cubic equations (for the higher parts of Algebra, and fluxions, tho' charming to possess, would take more time than he has now to spare) these remain also to be acquired[:] the conic sections, spherical trigonometry, Astronomy, and to attend a course of natural philosophy chiefly for the experimental part. Whenever Dr. Smith's class is engaged on these objects, mr Eppes will attend him, laying aside every thing else for that purpose. Whenever the class is engaged about subjects which mr Eppes possesses already, I should be glad to have him at home that he may be pursuing those branches of reading in which I shall occupy him. I have taken the liberty of stating my views, relying on your goodness to forward them as far as can be done, & have the honour to be with great esteem, Sir, your most obedt. humble servt.
Th: Jefferson
Doctr. Smith


See More

People: Jefferson, Thomas, 1743-1826
Smith, William

Historical Era: The New Nation, 1783-1815

Subjects: EducationMathematicsScience and TechnologyPresidentVice President

Sub Era: The Early Republic

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