Jefferson’s original law books will soon be one-click away


Soon, an online library of 375 books handpicked by the founder of the University of Virginia and his law school will be just a click away.

Thomas Jefferson’s collection of 1828 law books, representing his vision for holistic legal education in law school, will be digitized and kept on a website that will be free to the public. The Jefferson Trust, which provides discretionary funding for projects in pursuit of Jeffersonian ideals, allocated nearly $ 30,000 to the Arthur J. Morris Library at AVU Law to run the 1828 digital catalog collection project.

The project was one of 19 approved proposals out of 67 grant applications received during its annual deliberations.

AVU Law Library Director Taylor Fitchett said the library collects what it calls the catalog of 1828 since the 1980s. The goal has been to fill the gaps where books originally owned by Jefferson are not available by purchasing the corresponding titles and editions.

“It was difficult to assemble the 1828 catalog of Jefferson’s law books, as some of the books were published as early as the 16th century and the library only purchases editions of titles which were actually selected by Mr. Jefferson.” , Fitchett said.

Under the supervision of Loren Molds, Digital Collections Librarian and James Ambuske, Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities, the hardworking students will carefully digitize and digitize the books using the library’s Hasselblad aerial camera system and scanning system. of ATIZ dual camera books. The library will use most of its grant funds to pay workers, including summer intern Melissa Gismondi, an AVU graduate student working for the AVU Institute of Public History.

In addition to leading the digitization, Gismondi “will expand our interpretive work on the collection, further exploring how the books selected by Jefferson represented his vision of citizenship and education and, just as important, what books that Jefferson did. ‘he selected tell us about legal education. at the start of the 19th century, ”said Molds.

Part of the funds will also be used to create a sophisticated virtual library to browse the collection.

As the library strives to acquire the remaining 49 books in the physical collection, “We hope to collaborate with other libraries to digitize as many remaining titles as possible into a comprehensive digital collection,” added Fitchett.


Nancy I. Romero

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