Widener Library is one of a dozen libraries and organizations that have ordered complete microfilm copies of the Jefferson papers in the Library of Congress. Described by Gilbert Chinard as "the richest treasure house of information ever left by a single man," they will soon be available in microfilm form at such widely separated centers of research (besides the Library of Congress) as the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia, Princeton University Library, University of California Libraries, the New York Public Library, University of Minnesota Library, and Duke University Library.
The Library of Congress possesses the major portion of the original Jefferson papers which survive, and its entire collection is being microfilmed in response to numerous requests that copies be made available to other institutions. The work of microfilming which is being done by the Library's Photoduplication Service, will be completed by the end of July.
It is estimated that the Library of Congress collection, in 236 folio volumes, totals about 65,000 pages. When completed, the microfilm copy will comprise about 80 reels, of 100 feet each. Widener is paying $425 for the set.
An important by-product of the micro-filming will be the complete re-cataloging of the Library's Jefferson papers according to the best modern practice and in the light of the fullest recent scholarship. The papers previously had not been fully catalogued, and the Library is preparing descriptive material to accompany the microfilm reproductions. This editorial work is being done by Mrs. Helen Bullock, firmer Archivist of Colonial Williamsburg and now a member of the Library of Congress staff. Mrs. Bullock is utilizing in her work the results of the unique union catalog of Jefferson correspondence maintained by the University of Virginia Library. She has succeeded in dating or completely identifying dozens of manuscript items which previously had been imperfectly understood. When completed, the catalog of the Jefferson papers in the Library of Congress will contain more than 23,000 entries.