Tag Archives: American Philosophical Society

Others do this much better than I!

Th: Jefferson presents his acknolegements to mr Perrein for the offer of his collection in Natural history [plant or animal specimens for observation]; but his pursuits in life having never permitted him to think for a moment of forming a museum himself, he cannot avail himself of mr Perrein’s proposition. on the contrary, whatever he recieves worth preservation he is in the habit of giving either to the Philosophical society or to mr Peale.
Thomas Jefferson to Jean Perrein, March 8, 1805

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
A wise leader can love something without taking it on.
Perrein knew Thomas Jefferson’s passion for natural history and offered his collection to establish a museum. The President declined, not out of lack of interest but knowing other responsibilities precluded his ever “forming a museum.”

Jefferson suggested two destinations for Perrein’s collection, both in Philadelphia. One recipient was the American Philosophical Society, the nation’s premier science organization. The other was Charles Willson Peale (1741-1827), founder of America’s foremost museum.

Of Lewis and Clark’s 300 plant and animal specimens delivered the following year, Jefferson kept a few for display at Monticello. The rest went to the Society or Peale’s museum. The Society still holds a major portion of Lewis and Clark’s original journals from their epic 1804-1806 adventure.

“Patrick Lee was a keynote speaker at our … Annual Conference.
He did an outstanding job in his presentation.”
Executive Director, Wyoming School Boards Association
Mr. Jefferson will be outstanding for your conference!
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739
NOTE: The link to Thomas Jefferson’s letter is subject to change by Founders’ Archive. It was accurate when this post was written. If the link is now wrong, search FoundersArchives.gov or call me. I’ll help you find it.
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Can there be cooperation in the midst of war?

I mention these things, to shew the nature of the correspondence which is carried on between societies instituted for the benevolent purpose of communicating to all parts of the world whatever useful is discovered in any one of them. These societies are always in peace, however their nations may be at war. Like the republic of letters, they form a great fraternity spreading over the whole earth, and their correspondence is never interrupted by any civilized nation. Vaccination has been a late and remarkable instance of the liberal diffusion of a blessing newly discovered.
To John Hollins, February 19, 1809

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Wise leaders encourage societies for the public good.
Prior to this excerpt, Jefferson described the sharing of seeds, wool, a new weaving machine and a plow between men, himself included, in benevolent societies in different nations. All of these items were for improving the human condition.
Even if tangible items were not exchanged, a regular flow of letters between men in these societies kept their contemporaries in other nations up-to-date with the latest discoveries in the scientific realm. Jefferson himself was president of the American Philosophical Society, America’s premier society of learned men, from 1797-1815. (APS, founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1743, the year of Jefferson’s birth, still thrives today.)
Jefferson extolled the value of such societies, a “great fraternity” which continued its humanitarian efforts even when their nations were at war. They had recently lent their efforts to promoting public health through vaccination.
Jefferson wrote this letter just two weeks before retiring the Presidency. His joy at finally abandoning politics for family, farming, books and science at Monticello must have been palpable!

“We especially appreciated your ability to tailor the presentation
to fit the theme of the conference …”

President, Linn State Technical College

For a presentation tailored to your interests, invite Thomas Jefferson to speak!
Call Patrick Lee, 573-657-2739

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