Thomas Jefferson Memorial

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OVERVIEW: About this audio-described brochure

Welcome to the audio described version of the print brochure for the Thomas Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC. This audio description provides the information included in the NPS brochure on the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. It also includes descriptions of the photographs in the brochure. The brochure has two sides.

Section 1 is this overview. The rest of this description is organized to describe each side. Section 2 describes the front side. Sections 2.1 through 2.3 describe the main image in detail and provide transcriptions of the accompanying text. Section 3 describes the back side. Sections 3.1 through 3.7 describe each of the three images in depth and provide transcriptions of their accompanying text.

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OVERVIEW: Front side of brochure

The brochure has the standard National Park Service black band across its top, with the title “Thomas Jefferson Memorial” and the National Park Service arrowhead. The brochure consists of an edge-to-edge photograph of the memorial, a quote near the top, and some interpretive text about Thomas Jefferson at the bottom.

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The quote is from the Declaration of Independence and it reads: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

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This picture is of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial in the distance, across a calm body of water, the Tidal Basin, on a bright sunny spring day, with blue skies, and a few fluffy white clouds. Framing the picture in the foreground are delicate branches full of light pink Yoshino cherry blossoms. The memorial is modeled after Roman architecture. It is a large round white marble structure with columns around the perimeter. Its front, facing left in the photo, has a portico with vaulted roof. It is open air, with a domed top. Each column is 43 feet tall with a curl at the top. The memorial has a diameter of 183 feet 10 inches and is 103 feet tall. Surrounding the memorial are flat grassy knolls, with many small cherry blossom trees in full bloom. There are also some white pine trees on the grounds. Several people are walking on the grounds, dwarfed by the memorial's immensity.

Copyright: Carol Highsmith

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The interpretive text at the bottom reads: Thomas Jefferson—political philosopher, architect, musician, book collector, scientist, horticulturist, diplomat, inventor, and third President of the United States—looms large in any discussion of who Americans are as a people. Jefferson left to the future not only ideas but also a great body of practical achievements. President John F. Kennedy recognized Jefferson’s accomplishments when he told a gathering of American Nobel Prize winners that they were the greatest assemblage of talent in the White House since Jefferson had dined there alone. With his strong beliefs in rights of man and a government derived from the people, in freedom of religion and the separation between church and state, and in education available to all, Thomas Jefferson struck a chord for human liberty more than 200 years ago that resounds through the centuries. In the end, Jefferson’s own appraisal of his life, and the one that he wrote for use on his own tombstone, suffices: “Author of the Declaration of American Independence, of the Statute of Virginia for religious freedom, and Father of the University of Virginia.”

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OVERVIEW: Back side of brochure

The top half of this page is a large picture of the 19 foot bronze statue of Thomas Jefferson. A quote is over the image at the upper right of the page above Jefferson's left shoulder.

The lower half of the page consists of interpretive text about the construction and dedication of the memorial. It also includes a small picture of the nearly-completed memorial with surrounding cranes and a small picture of the memorial’s dedication by Franklin D. Roosevelt.

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IMAGE: Thomas Jefferson statue

A large, square photograph that fills around half of the back cover.

The viewer sees the bronze statue of Jefferson from waist up from below and to the statue's left. Jefferson is standing, arms at his sides, looking straight ahead toward the left side of the image. He looks to be of middle age, and has a pleasant, peaceful smile on his face. He has a prominent forehead accenting his deep set eyes. His jaw is strong and square with a pointed chin. Lighting from above him to his right defines his round and high cheekbones. His hair is wavy down to the top of his shoulders. He is wearing a heavy fur-trimmed overcoat, over a lighter jacket, which is worn over a vest with small low pocket flaps. His vest is tight because we can see it is waffled around his chest. He is also wearing a ruffled ascot. One can see behind him the inside of the open air memorial, with some English letters carved just below the dome. At the lower left of the picture is a wreath along the curved wall. 

  Copyright: Carol Highsmith

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I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man. 

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TEXT: Thomas Jefferson - A Chronology

The text beneath the top image reads:

Thomas Jefferson—A Chronology


Born April 13 at Shadwell, Albemarle County, Virginia.


Member of Virginia House of Burgesses; part of an increasingly anti-British faction; helped set up Virginia Committee of Correspondence.


Attended Continental Congress; on committee to write the Declaration of Independence, became its principal author.


Member of Virginia House of Delegates; involved in rewriting state legal code to reflect republican principles concerning landholding, inheritance, and criminal law; drafted Virginia statute for religious freedom with the help of James Madison.


Governor of Virginia.


Ambassador to France; studies of architecture and Roman ruins led him to introduce the classical style in the United States, of which the Virginia State Capitol, University of Virginia, and Monticello, his home, are notable examples.


Secretary of State under President George Washington; helped engineer the compromise to create a Federal Territory for a new capital along the Potomac River.


Vice President under President John Adams; supported states rights; opposed Alien and Sedition Acts; ran against and defeated Adams for the Presidency.


President; initiated peaceful transfer of power from one party to another; oversaw the Louisiana Purchase, doubling the size of the United States; sponsored Lewis and Clark Expedition to mouth of the Columbia River; strove to maintain peace and not be drawn into the war between Great Britain and France.


Lived at Monticello; drew plans, supervised construction, and outlined curriculum of the University of Virginia; corresponded extensively with John Adams.


Died on July 4—the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

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IMAGE: Building the memorial

This is a black and white photograph of the nearly completed memorial. Surrounding it are several cranes and scaffolding. The skies are grey. No landscaping appears to have been started yet. The building's foundation is exposed all the way around it. Two construction sheds are in the right foreground. This point of view is from the left of the main entrance, slightly looking up at the memorial.

Photo credit: National Park Service

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TEXT: Building the Memorial

Building the Memorial. This text accompanies the images of the construction and dedication. It reads: Jefferson’s importance as a great figure in United States history demanded a memorial site with prominence equal to the monuments for Presidents Washington and Lincoln. Building the Jefferson Memorial on the Tidal Basin, in a straight line directly south of the White House, achieved this. The Presidential monuments, White House, and the U.S. Capitol, placed in their east-west and north-south alignments, created a monumental heart for the city. Architect John Russell Pope was influenced by Jefferson’s taste as expressed in his writings and demonstrated by his works. The circular colonnaded structure is an adaptation of the classical style that Jefferson brought into use in this country. Rudulph Evans sculpted the bronze statue in the center of the memorial. President Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicated the memorial on April 13, 1943, on the 200th anniversary of Jefferson’s birth. The memorial is especially beautiful in the spring when the Japanese cherry trees are blooming. The first of these trees planted along the Tidal Basin were gifts from the city of Tokyo to the city of Washington in 1912.

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IMAGE: Dedication

Dedication. This is a color photograph of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt at the dedication of the memorial. The sun shines brightly on the faces in the back of the crowd so that some of the men shield their eyes. Around the sides and behind President Roosevelt, who is standing, are about twenty dignitaries. All are older white males dressed in suits and overcoats. They are gathered at the front of the memorial. The man to Roosevelt's left is wearing a dress uniform with gold shoulder braids and a star and four stripes on his cuff; he is holding his hat at his waist. President Roosevelt has his left hand on the uniformed man's right arm. Two NBC microphones can be seen nearby, to their front left. Behind them are three American flags hanging straight down from ceremonial stands, the edge of a fourth peeking from behind a wall. One man in the very back has a cigarette in his mouth. Some of a tree-lined city skyline and body of water are barely visible in the background.

Photo credit: National Park Service

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TEXT: Visiting the Memorial

Visiting the memorial. The text appears at the lower right and reads: Park rangers are at the memorial daily, except December 25, to answer questions and give talks. A bookstore and gift shop in the lower lobby carry items relating to the life and philosophy of Jefferson and to parks in and around Washington, D.C. The memorial is one of over 380 parks in the National Park System. The National Park Service cares for these special places saved by the American people so that all may experience our heritage. To learn about national parks and National Park Service programs visit More Information: Thomas Jefferson Memorial, National Mall and Memorial Parks, 900 Ohio Drive SW, Washington, DC 20024

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