Eye Color

From Thomas Jefferson Encyclopedia

There seems to be no consensus on Thomas Jefferson's eye color. They were variously described by family, friends, employees, and others as blue, gray, "light," hazel, and combinations thereof. An examination of Jefferson's life portraits does not clarify the issue; he is variously depicted with blue, hazel, and even brown eyes.

Contemporary Accounts

1801-1809. Joseph Delaplaine, visitor. "...his eyes are light..."

1806-1821. Edmund Bacon, overseer at Monticello. "He had blue eyes..."

1814. Francis Calley Grey, visitor. "...light gray eyes..."

1823. Alexander Hugh Holmes Stuart, visitor. "His eyes were light blue or gray..."

1824. Daniel Webster, visitor to Monticello. "His eyes are small, very light..."

Secondhand Accounts

1858. Randall, Life. "His full, deep set eyes, the prevailing color of which was light hazel (or flecks of hazel on a groundwork of grey)..." (p. 34)

1871. Randolph, Domestic Life. "...his eye, hazel." (p. 337)

1948. Malone, Jefferson, Vol. 1. "His eyes were hazel, though often described in later years as blue..." (p. 48)

Further Sources