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A Lively and Informative Collection of Essays offering a Fresh, Unique Look at Two Founding Fathers and their Literary Legacies.


John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were lovers of books. And the books they read not only informed them, but influenced their lives. What were they reading? How did their books not only impact their lives but also the thinking of a very young country?


Adams and Jefferson were among the great library builders of their age. They used the information in their books to guide them. They realized the value of education, of books, and of libraries in a democracy. What is the role of books and reading in the thoughts and actions of Adams and Jefferson? How did they organize their libraries and how familiar were they with the books in their libraries? How did these books influence their roles as founding fathers?


This collection of essays, from some of today’s premier historians of Adams and Jefferson, celebrate the two founding fathers and the importance of books and libraries in America.

The Libraries, Leadership, & Legacy of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson

  • Robert C. Baron is the former chairman of the American Antiquarian Society and a director of several library and conservation organizations. He is the author or editor of more than twenty books, including Pioneers and Plodders: The American Entrepreneurial SpiritWhat Was It Like Orville: The Early Space ProgramThe Garden and Farm Books of Thomas JeffersonJohn Adams: In His Own Words and The Light Shines from the West: A Western Perspective on the Growth of America.

    Conrad Edick Wright is the Ford Editor of Publications and director of research at the Massachusetts Historical Society. He is the author or coauthor of three books, the editor or coeditor of eight volumes, the editor of the Massachusetts Historical Review, and the lead scholar of Sibley's Harvard Graduates. he is a graduate of Harvard College and Brown University.

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