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Letter from Thomas Jefferson found

A couple looking through old historic photographs in Virgina stumbled across a personal letter written by Thomas Jefferson to his friend, the poet and diplomat Joel Barlow.

In a drawer, Bennett, 34, spotted a paper that looked very old and unusual. She pulled out her iPhone and tapped away, frantically searching for names. Then she turned to her husband.

“Tom, I think this is a Thomas Jefferson letter,” she said.

“You’re kidding me,” he said.

She wasn’t.

It’s a fairly rare occurrence when someone stumbles across a valuable historical artifact, like a letter from Thomas Jefferson. Coincidentally, the same week in early December that the Virginia couple ventured upstairs at the local American Legion, the University of Delaware announced that two graduate students had discovered a Jefferson letter in papers the university received from a local museum. The Virginia couple made their find public this month.

What makes the Old Town discovery special, one historian says, is that the note sheds light on Jefferson’s private life during his chaotic last year as the nation’s third president.

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