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On November 15, 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt laid the cornerstone for the Jefferson Memorial

November 15, 2025

On November 15, 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt laid the cornerstone for the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C. The president had personally lobbied for a memorial honoring Thomas Jefferson and would also be present at its dedication four years later on Jefferson’s 200th birthday.

Did you know? The architectural design of the memorial was inspired by Thomas Jefferson’s taste in classical architecture, echoed in the buildings dome shape, ionic columns, and pedimented portico.

Perhaps in a nod to their bitter real-life political friction, Jefferson’s 19 foot tall statue looks directly towards Alexander Hamilton’s statue before the U.S. Treasury.

What stands in between? Appropriately, the Washington Monument. As in the nation’s infancy, the first president stands between the two, tempering their rivalry and factionalism.

 

Jefferson Memorial stamp, U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing, 1973

-Written by Anna Zemaitaitis, Communications and Design Officer

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November 15, 2025
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