Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    Thomas Jefferson recommends a former messenger

    Thomas Jefferson Autograph Letter Signed Th:Jefferson." One page, 7.75" x 4.75", [n.p., though likely from Monticello], December 26, 1795. Though no longer serving as President George Washington's secretary of state, Jefferson still found time to write this letter of recommendation for Sampson Crosby, a State Department messenger and assistant. Crosby must have impressed Jefferson, who wrote in part:

    "I hereby certify that the bearer Sampson Crosby acted as . . . [missing text; likely the word "messenger" or "assistant"] the Secretary of State's office during the time it was under my direction, that I found him diligent, faithful & intelligent in all his duties and believe him to be of the most perfect integrity. I bear this testimony to truth with the ore satisfaction as it may serve those also who may have occasion to confide anything to him, since it is doing good service to anyone to inform them whom they may trust with safety."

    Though Jefferson believed he had retired from politics when he left Washington's administration in 1793, he was actually just taking a hiatus and enjoying life as a Virginia planter - albeit one in debt - at Monticello. Forces again pulled him back into the political arena in 1796 and on March 4, 1797, he was sworn-in as John Adams' vice president. Four years later, he was elected the third president.

    The letter is toned with some wrinkles. Though it is laid on a larger paper that also bears an engraving of Independence Hall, the document appears to have earlier separated along a fold, just slightly touching the top of Jefferson's "T," "h," and "J." A later annotation appears in the lower left corner. The top right corner has been removed, affecting at least one word of text. Still, all remaining text is easily legible.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    September, 2011
    13th-14th Tuesday-Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 6
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,076

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

    Sold on Sep 14, 2011 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2021 September 25 - 26 Including the Mahoney Collection of George Washington Inaugural Buttons. Americana & Political Signature Auction - Dallas.

    Learn about consigning with us

    You reach a customer base that is in many ways completely unknown to the major auction houses, and your marketing to this base is as professional as one could hope for. As I continue to wind down my holdings.
    Michael Z.,
    Hawthorne, NY
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search