The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

December 5, 2012

Jefferson tombstone in Missouri to be refurbished

COLUMBIA, Mo. — A marble slab from the original tombstone of former President Thomas Jefferson, which has been stored for nearly 130 years at the University of Missouri-Columbia, will be sent to a laboratory that serves the Smithsonian Institution for restoration work, university officials said.

Jefferson’s original tombstone was at his Virginia home of Monticello, but it was shipped to Missouri by Jefferson’s family in the 19th century because of concerns about vandalism from souvenir seekers. The tombstone was dedicated in 1885 at the University of Missouri, which was the first public university in the Louisiana Purchase Territory.

The Smithsonian will receive a marble slab that bears the epitaph Jefferson wanted on his tombstone. The piece has been stored for more than 100 years because of concerns about weather and vandalism, The Columbia Tribune reported Tuesday.

It was first housed at Academic Hall and was salvaged after that building burned in 1892. It’s been stored in Jesse Hall since 1895.

After Carol Grissom, a senior objects conservator at the Museum Conservation Institute, a research lab that serves the Smithsonian visited the university this fall, she decided to take on the restoration project.

“It’s irresistible,” Grissom said in a statement. “Thomas Jefferson himself wrote what he wanted written on the stone.”

Jefferson’s inscription, found by relatives in his notes after he died, identifies him as the “author of the Declaration of American Independence” and as the “father of the University of Virginia.”

“Scholars find it interesting that he left out the fact he was president, among other accomplishments,” Grissom said.

Missouri is working to determine the cost of sending the stone to Washington, D.C., where the Smithsonian will restore it without charge.

The restoration will involve Grissom and her team removing the marble slate from a wooden box it’s been sitting in since the 1890s and analyzing it to determine why the slab is deteriorating. They will use a scanning electron microscope and other analyses to examine the stone.

John Murray, the assistant director of business services who manages Jesse Hall, envisions architectural students designing a case to display the piece once the restoration is done.


Text Only
Local News
  • r073114rebuildjoplin3.jpg 30 volunteers a day would be a ‘game-changer’ for Rebuild Joplin

    Betty and Louis Wirick, both 79, say they are grateful to have survived the 2011 tornado as it tore down part of their home of 25 years on South Bird Avenue. But three years later, they are frustrated.

    July 31, 2014 2 Photos

  • Event for veterans on tap at Crowder

    For area veterans who have returned home from more than a decade at war, the Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks hopes to send a simple message at an event this weekend: Welcome home.

    August 1, 2014

  • Fair to feature goats, chickens and decorated bras

    Along with the usual fair sights, sounds and smells — livestock, poultry, produce and the like — there will be something a bit unusual at the Cherokee County American Legion Free Fair this year: Decorated brassieres. And pink. Lots of pink.

    August 1, 2014

  • Damien D Doxley 051314.jpg Prison term meted out in carjacking case

    A Newton County judge assessed a defendant in a Joplin carjacking case seven years in prison Friday on a conviction on a charge of tampering with a motor vehicle.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • 080114 Older worker1_72.jpg Co-workers, friends honor nurse with 50-year career

    Wilma Massey has worked a half century in health care and, even at the age of 74, she’s the first to arrive at work each morning.

    August 1, 2014 2 Photos

  • Amendment 7 backers tout safety, new jobs; foes say special interests to benefit

    The constitutional amendment, sent to the voters by the Legislature this year, would temporarily increase Missouri’s sales tax by three-quarters of 1 percent, raising an estimated $5.4 billion for the next decade to fund transportation projects.

    August 1, 2014

  • Brownback names 3 Kansas Board of Regents members

    Gov. Sam Brownback on Friday named a former veteran Kansas House member and two attorneys to the board overseeing the state’s higher education system.

    August 1, 2014

  • Grant to fund solar energy system for PSU’s Plaster Center

    An $80,000 grant from Westar Energy will fund solar panels to provide both energy and education at the Robert W. Plaster Center, now under construction at Pittsburg State University.

    August 1, 2014

  • Survey seeks views on Joplin’s future goals

    Residents are being asked to fill out a survey on priorities for Joplin’s future. The effort was inspired by a meeting of community leaders last month. Survey forms are available at the Joplin Public Library and online at

    July 31, 2014

  • Habitat slates volunteer work days

    In the wake of the 2011 tornado, Joplin Area Habitat for Humanity has been a partner with organizations and individuals in the construction of 86 new houses. But what’s also needed, Executive Director Scott Clayton said, are repairs to area homes.

    July 31, 2014

Must Read


Do you plan on voting in the Aug. 5 elections being held in Missouri and Kansas?

     View Results
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter