Right-Handed

From Thomas Jefferson Encyclopedia

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Jefferson's "Head and Heart" letter to Maria Cosway, written with his left hand. Library of Congress
Jefferson's "Head and Heart" letter to Maria Cosway, written with his left hand. Library of Congress

We are sometimes asked whether Thomas Jefferson was right-handed or left-handed. He was right-handed. One of his most famous letters, however - sometimes referred to as the "Head and Heart" letter[1] - was written entirely with his left hand after he had broken his right wrist in Paris in 1786. Although the letter is surprisingly legible, it is clearly different from his normal handwriting.

Footnotes

  1. Jefferson to Maria Cosway, Paris, 12 October 1786. PTJ 10:443-455. [http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=mtj1&fileName=mtj1page006.db&recNum=468 Letterpress copy at the Library of Congress.