Catalog Archive
Auction 158, Lot 450

"First Hot-Pressed Edition" of Jefferson's Famous Work

"Notes on the State of Virginia", Jefferson, Thomas

Subject: History Books

Period: 1801 (published)


Color: Black & White

5.4 x 8.6 inches
13.7 x 21.8 cm

This is the "First Hot-Pressed Edition" of Jefferson's famous work published by R.T. Rawle in Philadelphia, and the first edition issued after Jefferson assumed the presidency. Considered one of America's first literary landmarks, Notes on Virginia was the only book published during Jefferson's lifetime. It tackles a broad range of both scientific and philosophical topics including: climate, natural resources, population, separation of church and state, government checks and balances, and individual liberty. This edition includes the folding A Map of the State of Virginia... (13.5 x 20") by Benjamin Tanner at the front of the volume, single-page maps of Madison Cave (near Grottes) and the Ohio River (vicinity of Pittsburgh), and a portrait of Jefferson by William Harrison. According to Sabin, "This appears to be the best edition of this work, having the appendix relating to the murder of Logan's family, printed separately in 1800, and other pieces not in the preceding editions." Hardbound in full leather with title label on spine. 436 pages, 56 page appendix, 3 maps (1 folding), portrait frontispiece, and folding table. Bookplate of John Howell on inside front cover with an inscription and a few other signatures in the front endpapers.

References: Howes J-78; Sabin #35903.


The map has moderate to heavy offsetting and some damp staining along the horizontal fold. A long fold separation at bottom left and a short separation at center have been closed on verso with linen tape (C+). Text and plates have scattered foxing and light toning. Covers are worn and bumped along the edges, and the spine is starting to crack (B).

Estimate: $1,400 - $1,800

Sold for: $1,000

Closed on 6/22/2016