Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Search Challenge (July 18, 2012): How much did Jefferson think about wine?

Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States, was famous for many things—writing the Declaration of Independence, being a scientist, founding the University of Virginia, designing Monticello, traveling widely in the 18th century, inventing new agricultural practices—the list goes on and impressively on.  He was our first nerd president, a polymath of the first order.

He was also reknown for his wine collection, his taste and perception being on par with the best in the world.  This is a quotation from a letter to a man he called "Doctor."  
 “I have lived temperately....I double the Doctor's recommendation of a glass and a half of wine each day and even treble it with a friend.”
So now I'm curious--how much DID Thomas Jefferson think about wine?  I can't measure how much he thought about it, but we CAN search out how often he wrote about it to friends.    

Today’s search challenge has three parts:

1.  (Easy) Who was Jefferson writing to when he wrote this famous line about “I have lived temperately… I double the Doctor’s recommendation…”?  What was the correspondent’s name? 

2.  (Medium) Amazingly enough, more than 200 years later, the correspondent’s house still stands.  What color was that person’s house in 2009? 

3.  (Hard)  How many times did Jefferson refer to wine in ALL of his writings? 

As usual, please tell us not just the answer, but also HOW you found the answer, and how long it took you to find it! 

Search on! 


  1. Dr. Vine Utley ["I have lived temperately" jefferson letter to *]
    White [Dr. Vine Utley house]
    236 [jefferson writings database]

    It may be rather strange but the first question was rather difficult for me. I first tried Wikipedia for Jefferson and thought the Doctor could be Robley Duglison, but I could't check the quote. After some other searches I remembered I attend the Powersearch course and tried
    ["I have lived temperately" jefferson letter to *] and 3d link was to Online Library of Liberty and the letter to Dr Vine Utley (by the way the first 2 results on GPR are dead links)

    For the color of the house I just did [Dr. Vine Utley house], the 1st link was to a page on Wikimapia with the coordinates ([41°19'53"N   72°13'32"W] directly in the search box) and a photograph of the house. Went to Google Maps with these coordinates and checked the color of the house.

    For the writings I just did [jefferson writings database], 1st link was to Jefferson writings on then from there to where I could search the database for writings by Jefferson with "wine" in the text.
    The result page first gave 217 occurrences but after perusing the 3 or 4 following page the result turned to 236 but going to the last page gave 218 (!). Checking with the "Main series" and "Retirement series" gave 196 + 22. So I guess the answer _may be_ 218.

  2. 1. Searched for: thomas jefferson I have lived temperately wine, got waylaid at the Monticello Encyclopedia, but couldn't find the correspondent's name. Then found The Healthful Habits of Thomas Jefferson and the doctor's name is: Vine Utley.
    2. Searched for Vine Utley house. Found it located in Niantic, CT with coordinates of 41°19'53"N 72°13'32"W. Looked up the coordinates on google Maps, zoomed in on the house and the paint is white in 2009 (when the pic was taken).
    3. I couldn't figure out how to find all of TJ's references to wine -- I have to get back to work!

  3. 1. Who was Jefferson writing to? What was the correspondent’s name? "Dr Vine Utley" A search of the actual phrase.

    2. The correspondent’s house still stands. What color was that person’s house in 2009?
    "Brick & White" Image search. I found that using the date range didn't matter. The house stays the same as far as I can tell... historically correct.

    3. How many times did Jefferson refer to wine in ALL of his writings? I'm not good enough with searching yet to figure this one out. I'll wait for an answer. It's too stressful without proper knowledge of all searching options.

  4. Letter was written to Dr. Vine Utley
    Utley's house was white in 2009
    Jefferson wrote "wine" 110 times

    It took me about 15 minutes to find all answers due to a couple of dead ends.

    I googled the quote starting with “ I double…” and several results mentioned Keswick Hall. Next I googled “Keswick hall Jefferson” and the second post mentioned that Jefferson established a vineyard with Filippo Mazzei. Next I googled “letter Jefferson Mazzei” hoping that the quote was from a letter to Mazei. It was not but I found an index of “The Papers of Thomas Jefferson” at I could not find a searchable index of papers so I googled “index Thomas Jefferson letters” and went to where there were 4 volumes of Jefferson’s correspondence. I searched each volume for the quote and found it in Volume 4, in a letter written to Doctor Vine Utley in 1819.

    To find Utley’s house I googled “doctor vine Utley” and a post showed the satellite imagery for his house that he lived in from 1768-1836. The house was on Roxbury Road and I searched the coordinates in Google Maps and Street Viewed the house. The image was from September 2009 the house was white.

    To find the number of times that Jefferson mentioned wine, I returned to the 4 volumes of correspondence on Project Gutenberg and searched for wine in each volume. The total number of times “wine” showed up was 110 times.

    1. The Project Gutenberg collection is a fantastic resource. Nice find. (As you can see, I did my search for "wine" slightly more broadly than you did. But I would give you an A for this solution!)

  5. 1. Jefferson was writing to Dr. Vine Utley, dated March 21, 1819. I found this by entering the search string: "I have lived temperately....I double the Doctor's recommendation of a glass jefferson correspondence", then navigated to the tenth result,, and used ctrl+f "wine" to find the letter to Utley.

    2. The house color appears to be a white/off-white/beige with green windowpanes and a gray roof, although it's hard to tell given the house is in the shade.

    To find this, I performed a Google search "Vine Utley house", and clicked on the first result from Wikimapia, here: This provides a latitude/longitude, which I plugged into Google Maps and clicked on street view. The tricky part about this was not assuming the default view was correct; you must spin around 180 degrees to view Utley's house.

    3. Jefferson refers to wine 217 times in ALL of his writings. I arrived at this number by performing a Google search "Thomas Jefferson writings", then selecting the seventh result from the website of Monticello. There they contend the Princeton edition of his writings, 42 volumes to date, is the most comprehensive collection, and is available digitally at: From there it was a matter of searching the text for "wine", and setting the name 1 field as Jefferson and as an author.

  6. Ah, and it took me approximately 20 minutes, after double-checking answer number 3 against some other sources.

  7. 1. Search for "I have lived temperately". Link #3 is a vegetarian page on with a footnote referencing a letter to Dr. Vine Utley.
    2. Search "temperately double jefferson utley". Link #3 is a copy of the letter, verifying the footnote in step 1.
    3. Search "vine utley house". Link #1 is a picture of the house in wikimapia,org.
    4. Since I couldn't figure out how to get an address from wikimapia, I unzoomed the map until I could see some landmarks, and then located those landmarks in Google Maps (~155 Roxbury Rd, East Lyme, CT).
    5. In Streetview, the house appears white.
    Elapsed time: ~10 minutes

    Referernces to Wine (Brute Force Method)
    1) Search on "writings of Thomas Jefferson". Link #4 is the text from all 19 volumes at
    2) Load each volume, search the page for "wine", cycle through each result ensuring that it's a reference to wine and not a larger word that contains "wine."
    3) Count 259 uses of the word "wine", also noting that Jefferson wrote "twine" four times, and "swine", "entwined" and "Brandywine River" one time each.
    Elapsed time: ~35 minutes, including starting over after the initial source for the writings gave a 404 error on Volume 9, and also realizing I had to go back and look at each "wine" word after inadvertently noticing "entwined" as one of the matches.

  8. Very though ones. I think I got 2 answers :(.

    1. Letter to L’Abbe André Morellet, 1779. (found it searching [ “I have lived temperately… I double the Doctor’s recommendation” letter to])

    2. No luck.

    3. 259 times. First searching [Thomas Jefferson writings] under books category. Then, after some searching, found the transcripted book : The writings of Thomas Jefferson in page: Then used “find in page” tool in Chrome for each volume of the book)

    Please let us know the answers!

    1. Oswaldo -- See my answer today for details. Your solution of going to is as good as mine. Note that our numbers are slightly different, but VERY close. Nice job!

  9. 1. Answer: Dr. Vine Utley; Method: searched for [Thomas Jefferson doctor double"]

    2. Answer: White; Method: searched for [Dr. Vine Utley] and found an article on his house with coordinates. Entered the coordinates into Maps and did a streetview on the address and saw the images were from 2009.

    3. Searched [Thomas Jefferson writings search] and came up with the site with specific tips on searching but didn't want to go further. I have answers anywhere from 27 to 400+. Stumped.

  10. 1. google "jefferson letter temperately" >> first link >> To Dr. Vine Utley Monticello, March 21, 1819

  11. 1. searched quote w/out ellipsis or quot. marks and with added search words: "jefferson to letter" following quote...the last link on the first page in google gave me the answer of Doctor Vine Utley (source:

    2. searched on google "dr vine utley house", and first hit was a wikimapia site that had bird's eye image of house w/ coordinates of location--put coordinates into google maps, went to street view to get visual of 154(ish) roxbury rd, east lyme, is off-white w/ blue window shutters. (tag on image from google says pic was taken in september 2009)

    3. Wasn't sure if you wanted the number of instances wine ever appeared in Jefferson's writings or the number of writings in which wine was referred to...I did the latter. Went to LOC's collection "The Thomas Jefferson Papers" and searched "wine" (adv search: exact word/phrase, but allowing word variations like plurals). I manually counted all texts that were Jefferson writing TO someone, as opposed to a bill for wine sent to TJ. Final tally: 31 (mostly letters to other people, but some random notes/writings, too)

    Total time: approx. 15 mins (largely spent counting, and sorting through the manuscripts)

  12. This one was a little harder. Not sure if I'm right, but I'll throw my answer out there.

    1. Dr. Vine Utley

    2. According to Google street view (Image date: Spetember 2009), the house is... whiteish? with... dark shutters? :)

    3. It looks like about 60 times, according to Thomas Jefferson Papers Collection.

    This one took about 40 minutes.

    Thanks again!

    [Thomas Jefferson "I have lived temperately"]\Books\click on "full view" on second result\title of page is "TO DOCTOR VINE UTLEY"
    2-[Doctor Vine Utley House]\click on the first result (\copy and pase "41°19'53"N 72°13'32"W" on Google Map\street view\image date:september 2009\color=Brown

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  15. Search 1

    [ “I have lived temperately....I double the Doctor's recommendation of a glass and a half of wine each day and even treble it with a friend.” ] produced too many quotation pages to sift through.

    Regroup rethink

    [thomas jefferson writings] clicked on Books. Looks promising. Searched [thomas jefferson writings "half of wine"]

    Scroll up to find the answer To Doctor Vine Utley

    Search 2 [ "Doctor Vine Utley" ] was not helpful. Switch to [ "Dr. Vine Utley" ] to find a link to wikimapia location. Coordinates didn't work to search in Google Maps. Back to the zoom out to find nearby Bride Lake. Zoom out further see it is in Connecticut.

    In Google Maps search [ Bride Lake Connecticut ] follow Roxbury Road to the 155 Roxbury Road, East Lyme, Connecticut. Imagery date is 2012. Drag PEGMAN to Roxbury Rd. and see the house is WHITE and the imagery date is 2009.

    Search 3

    Tried many different searches. Really stuck with this one. I found two books on Thomas Jefferson and Wine. Tried seeing if there was anything in those books about the number of times Jefferson mentions wine in his writings and came up short.

    Tried searching for Jefferson's writings and papers in Google Books and the results were hard to organize.

    I went to the American Memory Project at the Library of Congress to search through their collection of The Jefferson Papers
    Wine got 64 hits

    I went to Project Gutenberg and searched each publication they had where Jefferson was the Author. I did a find on page for each publication and added them up.
    Wine got 122 hits.

    I went to The Papers of Thomas Jefferson Digital Edition
    Index list Wine with 30 hits subentries.

    I tried an Ngram search for [wine] between 1746 - 1830

    I then clicked each period and added inauthor:Thomas Jefferson to the search. Adding those time periods together -

    Wine got 259 hits.

    1. Fred -- Can you tell me again how you did the NGRAM search? (I don't know how/where you add the inauthor: operator in NGRAM.)


    2. When I got the results for [wine] in Ngram, the graph was broken into time periods. Each time period is a link to Google Books published during that period of time that mention wine. In the search box I added the inauthor: operator to each time period and added together.

    3. The Ngram search for [ wine ] for the time period 1746-1830 displayed results broken into time periods. Each time period was a link to a Book search for wine mentions during that sub time period. I added [inauthor:Thomas Jefferson ] to search and got a results for wine mentions. I did that for each time period and added them up.

      When I just tried to just do plain Google Book search ["wine" inauthor:"thomas jefferson"] between 1746-1830 I got 1,920 results.,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_cp.r_qf.,cf.osb&fp=b2ac92f6e13a3bcd&biw=1436&bih=783

      So does Ngram takeout duplicates or different versions of the same work and regular Google Books doesn't?

  16. 1.- Dr. Vine Utley. From a search of the line with from tommas jefferson to
    2.- Kind of gray-white. From one of the links it shows the house of Dr. Vine with the coordinates, searching for them in google street view brings the house up with an image from 2009.'53%22N+++72%C2%B013'32%22W&hl=es&ie=UTF8&ll=41.331419,-72.225645&spn=0.00663,0.009645&sll=41.331057,-72.225331&layer=c&cbp=13,330.73,,0,18.52&cbll=41.331485,-72.225558&t=m&z=17&iwloc=A&panoid=I_k3e7rS7soiq1xsJr_6Cg

    3.- From the library of congress they have a collection of all writings relatod to jefferson, so a search of that colection on this link for the word wine brings up 17 letters from jefferson with the word wine

  17. 1.Letter to Dr. Vine Utley
    google searched [jefferson letters treble wine] yielded site following in #1 position

    2. Whitish/Yellowish. Google Search for [Dr. Vine Utley House] use site got coordinates 41°19'53"N 72°13'32"W then use Google Maps search on those coordinates and used Google Street View. Image of house is stamped 2009.

    3. 45 (ish). Google searched for [total works of jefferson] use site link to

    then used Search This Set on the page to search for word "wine"and counted the number of times "wine" and "wines" were highlighted in the 21 entries found. Also checked for "vin" in case he used the french word for wine and "vino" in case he was using latin.

  18. This is an interesting challenge, although I think I have failed in the last (hard question, i.e., "how many times ...")
    1. I typed "I have lived temperately"+jefferson+doctor in Google and got the name of Dr Vine Utley as the second result
    2. Typed "Dr Vine Utley+house" in google web and got a wikimapia page that showed the co-ordinates and the house (partly). Then I used the Haversine formula to convert the lat longs and typed the decimal format to google maps and got to the street view to the house and found a white colored house.
    3. The answer to the last question is most probably wrong ("I got 52, searching for ' intext:"wine" inauthor:"thomas jefferson" ' and putting the dates till 1826 in Google Books.

  19. (1) Jefferson was writing to Dr. Vine Utley, about Dr. Benjamin Rush (the "Doctor" mentioned in the quotation).
    (2) I thought this was referring to the Utley home, but I think this question makes more sense for the Rush house. It was a dirty white (almost peachy on the second story) before it underwent a massive restoration in January 2010.
    (3) I counted 74.

    Process: Searched " 'thomas jefferson' letter doctor treble" and came up with, which provided both the recipient of the correspondence (Utley) as well as the "Doctor" mentioned (Rush).

    Searched "dr 'vine utley' home" and came up with the same Wikimapia link that some of the other commenters found. I plugged the coordinates into Google Maps and found 154 Roxbury Rd, Niantic, CT 06357. The Streetview picture was dated 2009 so I thought I was done, but as due diligence I searched the address and saw in Zillow that the house on the site was built in 1962 (

    At that point I redirected my search to Benjamin Rush's house, assuming that when the question refers to "correspondent" it actually means the correspondent that Jefferson was mentioning to Utley.

    I searched "Benjamin Rush" house and the first link was an article dated 2009 about restoration of the Greenwood Cemetery, where the Rush house now stands ( I followed up with the cemetery website, and both there and in the news article the photos of the pre-restoration house shows a dirty white first floor and an almost pink/peach upper floor, which could also just be stain and wear ( The date of the restoration clicks with the question about the color of the house in 2009.

    Finally, I searched "thomas jefferson complete works" and came up with a 1904 compilation of all of his writings and correspondences ( "Wine" and "wines" appear 74 times (thanks to ctrl+f). I went through each occurrence to make sure it's not "entwine" or "Brandywine" or some such. This search obviously does not cover any mention Jefferson makes of specific varieties ... I dunno, like "sauterne."

    Took about 15 min total.

    1. I didn't think about trying to count wine varietals (sauterne, etc.). That would be an interesting FUTURE challenge!

  20. 1 - the correspondent name is Benjamin Rush, writing in 08/17/1811.
    2 - the color is Brown and White.
    3 - the number is 41.


    1. Ronaldo - Why do you think the Dr. is Benjamin Rush? (He's a well-known doctor of the time, and Jefferson certainly knew him... but did you find evidence linking Rush to this letter?)

      And HOW did you figure it was 41?


  21. Greetings! Great challenge for this first-time visitor. Part 1 I solved by searching for [jefferson wine doctor letter], and Dr Vine Utley's name appeared in the third result (after two hits about this challenge). This took a minute.

    Part 2 involved finding the doctor's house location: search [dr vine utley house] and the second result (wikimapia) gives the name of the street and town, with an aerial photo. A search on Google Maps for Bride Lake nearby enabled the comparison of photos, so I could zoom in and drop the street view guy down in front of the house location. The house was white in 2009 when the street was filmed, per the date at the bottom of the image. This took about 10 minutes, with a break in the middle for dinner.

    Part 3 started with a search for [concordance jefferson letters] which gave me hope from the University of VA, but I reached the limit of what my wee netbook could handle. Closed windows, gave up for a while, then just selected the text of the question, which led me to the book "Thomas Jefferson on Wine". I skimmed the introduction, which states that there were "literally hundreds of letters just about wine" (p. xi), so that's my answer, hundreds. Search time about 15 min. on part 3, not counting the giving up in the middle.

    Thanks so much for the challenge!

  22. 1.
    google books [Thomas Jefferson letters]
    find in the book: ["glass and a half of wine" letters]
    -->Doctor Vine Utley. Monticello March 21 1819
    [Doctor Vine Utley's house]
    41.3313575N 72.225617W
    -->white colour with the dark roof
    3. [wine inauthor:"Thomas Jefferson"]
    it has returned me 2 440 results, which is probably not a right number...