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Friend's Papers Shed Light on Thomas Jefferson

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display at Monticello display at Monticello

The Thomas Jefferson Foundation received a donation honoring a little-known man who inspired the first four presidents of the United States – Phillip Mazzei.

Tuesday, the Thomas Jefferson Library will honor a large donation of work about Mazzei from Sister Margherita Marchione, a nun and professor.  Mazzei was an inspiration to Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, George Washington, and James Monroe.  

Foundation librarian Jack Robertson says that Mazzei may have even been an inspiration for the Declaration of Independence.

"May 1776, so predating the Declaration of Independence, and predating the constitution so he was really an instigator of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," said Robertson.

A reception will honor Sister Marchione and Mazzei at the Jefferson Library  from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.   

All 2,500 manuscripts will be there Tuesday and remain.

Virginia wine lovers also have a lot to thank Mazzei for - The Jefferson Library says he introduced Jefferson to growing grapes for wine.

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