About the Site


Hello, and welcome to our site.

This website was constructed by undergraduate research students at the University of Mary Washington and centers around the letters written by James Monroe to the United States Secretary of State while Monroe was Minister to France from August, 1794 to August, 1796. In this website, you will find the fully digitized images of these letters, along with summaries and transcriptions of their contents. In addition to the letters themselves, we have provided contextual information as well: including information about Monroe's time in France, an interactive timeline, and two interactive maps. This page is here to guide you in best finding the information you are looking for.

We hope you enjoy visiting our site, and that you are able to learn about this tumultuous time in Early American foreign relations.


We have two main exhibits regarding the letters to the Secretary of State. During Monroe's time in France, there were two different Secretaries of State: Edmund Randolph and Timothy Pickering. We have a separate exhibit for each official.

The exhibit on Edmund Randolph covers all letters written between August 1794 and October 1795.

The exhibit on Timothy Pickering covers all letters written between November 1795 and August 1796.

Within each exhibit, you will see a range of dates on the left side of the page. These are the letters, click on a date to get to that particular letter's section. In each section, you will see several tabs: one for About the Letter and one or more for Letter Images. Click on a tab to view each.

The About the Letter tab contains the summary in text on the page, and the letter's transcription. To view the transcription, simply click the Link to Transcription button, and a pdf version of the transcription will pop up in a new tab in your browser.

The Letter Images tabs show the full images of each page of the letter. These images are very clear, and are generally readable. To view the image as a larger image, click on it, then click on the thumbnail. This will pull it up into its own tab.

To return to the main site, simply click Back to Exhibits at the top of the page


To find certain letters regarding specific people, events, places, or themes, simply look through the tags we have provided. Where possible, within the tags we have fixed misspellings and provided individuals' full names; whereas, in the transcriptions, to remain faithful to the letters these misspellings have remained. Names are listed alphabetically by first name, such as Maximilian Robespierre versus Robespierre, Maximilian

To navigate tags, simply click on "Browse Items" at the top of the page. Then, click on the "Browse by Tag" option to see all the available tags. Click on a tag. This will then list the first page of each letter containing that particular tag.You may then view the item, or find the full letter in its exhibit or collection.

Items and Collections

The 'Items' tab displays all the individual pages of each letter as single items. However, from here you can search through individual tags for letters containing the same people, places, events, or themes using tags.

The 'Collections' tab displays these letters together as a group, such as the full February 12, 1795 letter. However, you only see the letter images themselves, without a summary or a transcription. Should you wish to view the transcription, visit our exhibits

If you are using this site for research, letter pages and transcriptions within the 'Items' tab can be used to archive zotero-generated citations. Every page of the letters to Timothy Pickering, as well as every page of letters to Edmund Randolf contain the necessary metadata to build a complete bibliograpahic citation.


Our interactive timeline displays events which are mentioned in the James Monroe letters, from consular appointments to wars. By clicking on specific events in the timeline, a "bubble" will appear which has a link to the letter images of the specific letter in which the event was mentioned.


Our maps display locations mentioned in the James Monroe letters.

We have two separate maps: one containing Europe and North Africa, and the other containing North America and the Caribbean.

Our map functions as a google map. You may "click and drag" on the map to move around, zoom in and out with your mouse, or use the navigation tools on the left of the page.

On the maps are small blue "balloon" pointers. Click on one and a "bubble" will open. In this bubble, you will find links to letters in the exhibits which mention the chosen location. Simply right click and open the letter in a new window or tab. To close the bubble, simply click the "x" on the top right of the bubble. In the Europe map, only the twenty most mentioned locations are included in pointers. Other locations are listed below the map with links to their specific letters.

To view the map at full size, click "more" on the top right of the map. This will bring you to the full-screen version of the map at maplib.com. From there, you can view the map in the larger format, and view the full image of the map without the balloons by pressing the show/hide markers button on the top left of the screen next to legend.


Our site is best viewed using the Firefox browser. Although it functions in other browsers, your experience will be maximized when using Firefox.

Special Thanks to: Professor Jeffrey McClurken, Dr. Daniel Preston, Patrick Murray-John, Professor Stephen Hanna, Nathan Delano, Cassandra Ratti, Joseph Cirenza, and the members of DTLT for all their contributions towards making this site a success.