A Founding Father's Books Turn Up

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A literary detective story that began 18 months ago and was advanced through a chance reading of an 1880 edition of The Harvard Register has led researchers from the Jefferson Library at Monticello to a trove of books that were among the last ones that Thomas Jefferson, the nation’s most bibliophilic president, collected and read in the decade before he died.

The 28 titles in 74 volumes were discovered recently in the collection of Washington University in St. Louis, immediately elevating its library to the third largest repository of books belonging to Jefferson after the Library of Congress and the University of Virginia.

“My reaction was: ‘Yes! It makes sense,’ ” said Shirley K. Baker, Washington University’s vice chancellor for scholarly resources and dean of university libraries. “It strikes me as particularly appropriate these are in Missouri. Jefferson bought this territory, and we in Missouri identify with him and honor him. And I was thrilled at the detective work our curators had done.”...

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