by A. WHITNEY GRISWOLD
["Jefferson's Republic: The Rediscovery of Democratic Philosophy." Reprinted from the April, 1950 issue of Fortune Magazine by special permission; copyright 1950Time Inc.]
In recent years, there have been intensified scholarly efforts to publish definitive editions of the papers of the founding fathers and the statesmen of the early period of American history. One of the most formidable of these undertakings has been concerned with the publication of a "complete Jefferson" in upwards of fifty volumes.,1
Between 1943 and the present, three "comprehensive" biographies of Jefferson either have been completed or are in process. Nathan Schachner, in 1951, published two large volumes on Jefferson; Mary Kimball has produced thus far three volumes that bring Jefferson's career to 1784; Dumas Malone also has published three volumes of a projected four-volume treatment that probably will stand as the outstanding Jefferson biography of our times.
Yet each of Jefferson's most recent biographers sees him differently. To Mrs. Kimball, Jefferson is always the idealized Virginian. Professor Malone, though less laudatory of his central figure, is no less appreciative. Professor Malone's treatment focuses about a "core" of consistency that the author believes characterized Jefferson throughout his career; whereas Mr. Schachner, who sees small virtue in consistency, permits his Jefferson to have a more erratic line of development.