NATIONAL THOMAS JEFFERSON DAY
National Thomas Jefferson Day each year on April 13th honors the birth of the third President of The United States, Thomas Jefferson, who was born on April 13, 1743.
Most known as the primary author of the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson was a stalwart of democracy. While not much an orator, his pen cut quite a swath of ink through correspondence, documents, journals, and manuscripts.
Those who write tend to read. Jefferson was no different. His vast library contained 6,500 volumes.
Jefferson was not only a lawyer, but he was also a scientist of agriculture, paleontology, and astronomy. Immensely curious, he kept detailed records of the weather and eventually established weather observers across his home state of Virginia.
Jefferson served as minister to France, Secretary of State in President Washington’s Cabinet, and ran for President for the first time in 1796 only to be elected Vice President to his opponent, John Adams, due to a flaw in the Constitution.
Four years later, the same fault in the document caused a tie within the same party between Aaron Burr and Jefferson, with Jefferson assuming the Presidency.
HOW TO OBSERVE #NationalThomasJeffersonDay
- Learn more about Thomas Jefferson.
- Read one of his many books or books written about him. We’ve selected a few for you to choose from.
- Autobiography of Thomas Jefferson by Thomas Jefferson
- Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power by Jon Meacham
- Friends Divided: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson by Gordon S. Wood
- Use #NationalThomasJeffersonDay to post on social media.
- Take a tour of Monticello or learn more by watching a documentary.
NATIONAL THOMAS JEFFERSON DAY HISTORY
By Presidential Proclamation 2276 on March 21, 1938, Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed April 13th to celebrate the birth of Thomas Jefferson. Then again, on April 11, 2007, President George W. Bush proclaimed Thomas Jefferson Day to commemorate his birth with Presidential Proclamation 8124.
Presidential Proclamation 2276, of Mar 21, 1938, covers all succeeding years. (Pub Res No 60 of Aug 16, 1937.)
Thomas Jefferson FAQ
Q.Did Thomas Jefferson invent ice cream?
A. No but he was a big fan of it. So much so that he developed his own recipe which may very well be the first ice cream recipe written down by an American. His love of ice cream may have also increased its popularity in the United States.
Q. Did Thomas Jefferson own slaves?
A. Yes and so did about 11 other presidents.
Q. Did Thomas Jefferson commission the Corps of Discovery during his presidency?
A. Yes. Captain Meriwether Lewis and William Clark led the expedition to explore the country west and north of the Mississippi River.
April 13th Celebrated (and Not So Celebrated) History
President Woodrow Wilson swears in Helen Hamilton Gardener as one of three U.S. Civil Service Commissioners making Gardener the highest-ranking woman in the federal government. At the time, the Civil Service Commission ensured government employees were hired based on merit versus personal relationships with elected officials.
Sidney Poitier wins Best Actor for his role in the film Lilies of the Field. Poitier is the first African American man awarded an Oscar.
At the age of 21, Tiger Woods becomes the youngest winner of the Masters Tournament in Augusta, Georgia. He was also the first African American to win the tournament.
April 13th Celebrated (and Not So Celebrated) Birthdays
Thomas Jefferson – 1743
The author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson served two terms as the third United States President from 1801 to 1809. During Jefferson’s administration, the country doubled in size with the Louisana Purchase. With his signature, Jefferson launched the Corps of Discover which charged fellow Virginian Meriwether Lewis and William Clark with charting the vast newly acquired territory to the west.
Frank Woolworth – 1852
The entrepreneur persevered with his idea for a discount store after his first store failed. He opened a 5 & 10 cent store in Lancaster, PA. After merging with other retailers, Woolworth & Co stores spread to 37 states by 1912.
Samuel Becket – 1906
The Irish writer is best known for his plays Waiting for Godot and Endgame. In 1969, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.
Eudora Welty – 1909
The short story writer from Mississippi won the 1973 Pulitzer Prize for her novel The Optimist’s Daughter.
John Biggers – 1924
John Biggers developed his art following World War II and his recognition grew well into the 1990s. Today, his murals can be found publicly around Houston, Hampton University in Virginia, and Winston-Salem University in North Carolina.
Garry Kasparov – 1963
The Russian chess grandmaster dominated the World Chess Championship for nearly three decades. Kasparov took on IBM’s supercomputer Deep Blue two times. In the first match, Kasparov won. However, the following year, Deep Blue won.