December 17th, Rare Autographs, Manuscripts, Book, Auction
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 12/17/2020

Autograph Letter Signed ("Th. Jefferson"), to Gouverneur Morris, 1 p, bifolium, 4to, Philadelphia, April 29, 1792, inquiring after a former cook in France, to arrange employment in Monticello, and apologizing for troubling him with such a trivial matter, with Morris's note to the verso of last leaf, paper loss to fore-edge of cover sheet from seal removal. 

Thomas Jefferson writes to Morris, who is in Paris as the Minister Plenipotentiary to France, enlisting his assistance in luring a former kitchen aid in Paris to Monticello ("Henri by name"), and enclosing a letter (not present) for Morris to deliver in that regard. He notes, "There is a possibility he may be married," but somewhat stingily adds that he would not wish to bear the burden of her passage as well, so maybe the would-be cook could pay that himself. An interesting, personal, and unpublished letter between two of the most important statesmen of the Revolution.

Letter in Full: 

Being in want of an aid in my kitchen, and having at Paris had one who on occasion could supply his principal, I have desired my Maitre d’hotel to write to engage him to come to me. The inclosed letter to a Madame François is on that subject, and I have taken the liberty of desiring that the person (Henri by name) may present himself to you, in hopes that you will be so good as to direct him how to come, that is to say, by the Diligence to Havre, where M. de la Motte will find him a passage. My letter to M. de la Motte, left open for your perusal, will let you see how he is to be provided for. The trouble of forwarding that as well as the letter to Madame François I am obliged to put on you, as well as to encourage the young man to come. There is a possibility he may be married. His wife might probably employ herself advantageously in this city if she can do any thing: but I should not chuse to add the burthen of her passage to that of his. Perhaps he can pay that himself. The wages offered him are those I pay my other servants, 7. Dollars a month and their board and lodging. Pardon my troubling you with this petty business, and be assured of the sentiments of esteem & respect with which I am Dear Sir your most obedient humble servt.,

Th: Jefferson

Jefferson the president, philosopher, inventor, and architect was also a food connoisseur. While his time in France as the French minister he became a lover of fine French cuisine. He loved it so much that he brought back many of the French delights and style of cooking to America. Which has become legend of many of the favorite foods now enjoyed by Americans! These foods include French Fries, Macaroni and cheese, he even is known for the first documented recipe for Ice Cream in America.

Jefferson also loved wine and his French chefs where the first known in America to cook with wine and of course he enjoyed drinking it as well. Jefferson was considered to have one of the finest wine selections.

Because of his love of  French food he even brought one of his slaves James Hemings to France, who was Sally Heming’s (his Mistresses)brother. He wanted him to train him as a French chef and would study "the art of cookery.". Learning under the master chefs, Hemings learned the art of cooking French cuisine .When Jefferson returned to America in 1789, Hemings went to work as one of the head a chefs there and was soon accepted as one of the top chefs in America.

During this time, he earned a monthly wage of seven dollars, the same amount Jefferson paid his free domestic staff members. The same amount mentioned as pay for the chef “Henri” in the very letter being offered in our auction. The letter is also fascinating since he is trying to bring another French chef, possibly because he would be freeing Hemmings with a manumission agreement, the next year. Since according to Pennsylvania law stated that, "If a slave is brought into the State and continues therein for the space of six months, he may claim his freedom. When Jefferson’s tenure as Secretary of State came to an end in December 1793, James bargained for his freedom.

With One Of A Kind Collectibles COA.

Thomas Jefferson (wants to bring his private French chef to Monticello )Thomas Jefferson (wants to bring his private French chef to Monticello )Thomas Jefferson (wants to bring his private French chef to Monticello )Thomas Jefferson (wants to bring his private French chef to Monticello )
Thomas Jefferson (wants to bring his private French chef to Monticello )
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Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $500.00
Final prices include buyers premium.: $10,950.00
Number Bids: 21
Auction closed on Thursday, December 17, 2020.

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