With regard to the spelling and punctuation of quotations to be found in this book: they have been translated in my text to the conventions of the 1990s (to the extent that I have caught up with them from the conventions of the 1940s), except when there is a point to be made by leaving them as they were when written. The risk in this method is that I may have misunderstood what was originally intended. The offsetting risk is that by leaving them in the original they may be unintelligible except to experts. If forewarned that there has been such an attempted updating, any expert can gain access to originals as general readers cannot. After sixty years of reading people quoting other people, I have always been grateful to get through the orthography to the meaning.
The same desire to increase the number of people who may become interested in this subject matter has determined my choice of sources. I am not attempting to produce a log of library hours or triumphs of invidious access. I am trying to make it as easy as possible for those who do not have access to a great university library or to the Library of Congress to check or extend a reference. It is sometimes useful to direct specialists or incipient specialists to bibliographers who have compiled extended lists of primary sources, and who have evaluated the secondary sources as well. Though I have often gone back to primary sources to do my own checking, I have chosen to direct readers to the most accessible source, unless the primary source says something significant that the secondary sources do not. Sometimes—though less often than in my earlier work—I have treated a work of architecture as a primary source. I have attempted to visit all the landscapes that have value as witnesses to the events described.
As to Jefferson's own work, I have cited whenever possible and with some paternal pride the edition of Jefferson's work by the Library of America, of which I was a founder. Otherwise I have on occasion cited Bernard Mayo's paperback anthology called Jefferson Himself, which is in print and relies most heavily upon the so-called Memorial Edition of Andrew Lipscomb and Albert