Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Monticello Gets Philip Mazzei Papers

The Jefferson Library at Monticello has acquired 2500 manuscripts, works of art, and decorative objects associated with Italian physician Philip Mazzei (1730-1816). Thomas Jefferson and Mazzei met when the later came to the British American colonies in 1773 to teach Virginians how to cultivate vineyards. Here is a taste of an Associated Press article on Monticello's latest acquisition:

The Thomas Jefferson Foundation was to formally accept 2,500 manuscripts, works of art and decorative objects at a reception Tuesday afternoon at the Jefferson Library at Monticello. The items donated by Sister Margherita Marchione are related to Jefferson’s longtime friend, Philip Mazzei.
“The materials shed new light from different angles on Jefferson, Monticello, and the whole founding generation,” Jack Robertson, Monticello’s foundation librarian, told The Daily Progress ( ).
Mazzei was a merchant, surgeon and horticulturist who came to Virginia in 1773. He was Jefferson’s friend for about 40 years.
“Mazzei’s perspectives, as a European enlightenment figure, cast interesting and useful light on the American founders, and he contributed to the formulation of the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence,” Robertson said. “He was a radical political thinker and writer, but also an innovator in viticulture and agriculture.”