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Entries Tagged as 'Thomas Jefferson'

Plain as Your Sense of Smell

May 30th, 2013 by Brendan Wolfe · 2 Comments

The poet Kiki Petrosino, a descendant of slaves and a graduate of the University of Virginia, has written a short essay on this sentence from Thomas Jefferson‘s Notes on the State of Virginia: They secrete less by the kidnies, and more by the glands of the skin, which gives them a very strong and disagreeable odor. […]

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Gift Will Help Recreate Slave Quarters

April 20th, 2013 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

Last night, while the world was preoccupied with something else, businessman David Rubenstein, the co-CEO of The Carlyle Group private equity firm, announced a gift of $10 million toward the continued restoration of Monticello, the former home of Thomas Jefferson. A pair of slave quarters on Mulberry Row will be recreated and work will be done […]

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Tags: Around the State · Thomas Jefferson

Sally and Tom: A Ghost Story

December 7th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

Earlier in the year, we took note of the ABC drama Scandal, which features an affair between a white president and his crisis manager, a black woman named Olivia Pope (played by Kerry Washington). Now the twitterverse is twittering because last night, finally, the show acknowledged that it is—as one writer put it, back in April—”haunted […]

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Jefferson & His Slaves: Who Cares?

December 6th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

Last Friday, Paul Finkelman called Thomas Jefferson “a creepy, brutal hypocrite” in the New York Times. The context was Jefferson’s actions with regard to slavery, which Finkelman argues contradicted Jefferson’s writings, both on slavery and on liberty more generally. The idea that the Founding Fathers should bear responsibility for not more forthrightly confronting the moral […]

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Feedback: Intellectually Disappointing

December 5th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · 2 Comments

Richard Dixon, of the Thomas Jefferson Heritage Society, has read our entry on Sally Hemings and finds it wanting: This biographical account of the obscure Sally Hemings is intellectually disappointing. You assigned the task for this account to an author who has a conflict of interest. Virginia Scharff has just released a book committed to […]

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Tags: Feedback · Thomas Jefferson

Quote of the Day

December 3rd, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

From Ta-Nehisi Coates, who writes about the “Myth of Jefferson as a Man of His Times,” and quotes our entry on Edward Coles: The notion that Jefferson was merely following the crowd, and that everyone else did the same thing is convenient for us. But it has the unfortunate effect of erasing the courage of […]

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“A Creepy Brutal Hypocrite”

December 3rd, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · 1 Comment

Paul Finkelman, who the other day in the New York Times called Thomas Jefferson “one of the most deeply creepy people in American history,” has found occasion to use the c-word again, and again in the Times. This time, he’s writing an Op-Ed on Jefferson in the context of Jon Meacham‘s new biography and Henry […]

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“Jefferson’s Airy Platitudes”

November 30th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · 1 Comment

An interesting review of 1775: A Good Year for Revolution by Kevin Phillips: In 1775, however, Phillips deals with political loyalties more fundamental than the mere matter of party allegiance. His broader purpose is to write a sketch of American nationalism at the revolutionary moment when that concept first cohered. That nationalism is not predicated on […]

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What Abigail Implied

November 29th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

In part 10 of our series on primary resources related to Sally Hemings, we consider two letters written by Abigail Adams, then living in London, to Thomas Jefferson, in Paris. Jefferson had recruited Mrs. Adams to receive his nine-year-old daughter Mary (also known as Polly) and her fourteen-year-old companion Sally Hemings after their trans-Atlantic voyage […]

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Tags: Documents · Thomas Jefferson

Quote of the Day

November 27th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

From Paul Finkelman, a professor at Albany Law School, author of Slavery and the Founders (2001) and of our entry on Anthony Burns: I think Thomas Jefferson is one of the most deeply creepy people in American history. Finkelman’s comments come in the context of an article in today’s New York Times that takes note of the […]

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Spotlight: Sally Hemings

November 27th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · 3 Comments

Yesterday we published our entry on Sally Hemings. Part of a larger section of content on Thomas Jefferson that you can read about here, it is a long-ish and I think thorough account of both her life and the controversy surrounding the children she is supposed to have had by her famous master. It was […]

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Feasting at Monticello

November 20th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

In time for Thanksgiving, the University of Virginia Magazine presents “The Jefferson Thanksgiving Challenge.” After researching the various ingredients available to the enslaved cooks at Monticello this time of year, the magazine’s staff asked alumni chefs to come up with Jeffersonian dishes with a modern twist. Lest you get too excited imagining Thomas Jefferson celebrating […]

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Quote of the Day

November 20th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

From a response to his critics by Henry Wiencek, author of Master of the Mountain: Thomas Jefferson and His Slaves: I am not surprised that [Annette] Gordon-Reed disliked my book so much, given that it systematically demolishes her portrayal of Jefferson as a kindly master of black slaves. In The Hemingses of Monticello, she described with […]

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Tags: Quote of the Day · Thomas Jefferson

Judging Mister J (Cont’d)

November 16th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

Henry Wiencek, author of Master of the Mountain: Thomas Jefferson and His Slaves, fires back at his critics in the Chronicle of Higher Education this morning. (The article is behind a paywall.) “This is the language of Ann Coulter,” he says of reviewers who claim he was out to get Jefferson. “If you say things […]

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experimental beds

November 16th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

Because we’re slow, we missed the work of Australian artist Judy Watson that until earlier this year was on display at the University of Virginia. [See update.] This set of six color etchings features Thomas Jefferson’s architectural drawings of the University of Virginia overlaid with images collected and produced by the artist. The work deals […]

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Tags: Thomas Jefferson · Virginia Arts

What the Poet Rhymed

November 13th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

In part 9 of our series on primary resources related to Sally Hemings, we consider an anonymous poem that appeared on the same page of the same issue of the same Richmond paper that first aired James Thomson Callender’s famous allegation about Thomas Jefferson and one of his slaves. (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part […]

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Tags: Documents · Reading the Paper · Thomas Jefferson

Why My Guy Didn’t Win

November 8th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

Earlier this week, on the occasion of Election Day, we reminded readers of how nasty past campaigns could be. The Connecticut Courant, for instance, declared back in the fall of 1800 that should Thomas Jefferson be elected president, the world as we know it would descend into violent chaos, that Jefferson’s sympathy for France’s Jacobite […]

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Tags: Reading the Paper · Thomas Jefferson

What the Census Taker Wrote

November 8th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

In part 8 of our series on primary resources related to Sally Hemings, we consider a single page from the United States Federal Census, enumerating the inhabitants of Washington Township, Ross County, Ohio, on July 7, 1870 (above left). (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, and Part 7.) This document is important because […]

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Tags: Documents · Thomas Jefferson

What the Friend Affirmed

November 7th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

In part 7 of our series on primary resources related to Sally Hemings, we consider “Life Among the Lowly, No. 3,” the recollections of Israel Gillette Jefferson published in the Pike County (Ohio) Republican on December 25, 1873. (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, and Part 6.) Earlier in the year, the Republican‘s editor, S. F. […]

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Tags: Documents · Thomas Jefferson

If My Guy Doesn’t Win

November 6th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

It’s Election Day and we’re all tired of the negative campaigning. As such, it has become almost a tradition for bloggers and journalists to quote one of the most famously negative rants against a candidate in American history. It ran in the September 15, 1800, edition of the Connecticut Courant, and the author—identified only as […]

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Tags: Reading the Paper · Thomas Jefferson

What the Editor Argued

November 6th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

In part 6 of our series on primary resources related to Sally Hemings, we consider “Life Among the Lowly,” an editorial published in the Waverly (Ohio) Watchman on March 18, 1873. (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5.) In it the paper’s editor, John A. Jones, attacks the recollections of Madison Hemings, titled […]

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Tags: Documents · Reading the Paper · Thomas Jefferson

I Just Wanna Thank President Lincoln

November 5th, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · 2 Comments

The above video, which aired on Saturday Night Live this past weekend, is the funniest thing I’ve seen in a long while. And because it features Louis C.K., one of the smartest, most provocative comedians working today, it’s not your average, sophomoric SNL fare. Take, for instance, the fact that it portrays a down-on-himself, decidedly […]

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Tags: Misc. · Thomas Jefferson

What the Son Insisted

November 2nd, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · 3 Comments

In part five of our series on primary resources related to Sally Hemings, we consider the recollections of Madison Hemings. (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.) This particular document is better understood as a “recollection,” rather than a memoir, because it’s the product of an interview with S. F. Wetmore, editor of the Pike County Republican in […]

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Tags: Documents · Reading the Paper · Thomas Jefferson

Judging Mister J

November 1st, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

A few months back we noted the impending publication of Master of the Mountain: Thomas Jefferson and His Slaves by Henry Wiencek: “We expect that Wiencek’s book will provide for lively discussion among Jefferson and slavery scholars.” We were right, it turns out. Wiencek, an Encyclopedia Virginia contributor and friend of this blog, paints a particularly unforgiving portrait of Jefferson as a calculating […]

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Draw the Line

October 31st, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

As we were speaking of George Washington earlier, above you’ll find a rather minimalist portrait of the first president begun by the artist Jason Novak and completed by his eighteen-month-old daughter, Gertie. The pair collaborated on all the United States presidents, and I have picked out a few from Virginia. (Here is a list of […]

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Tags: George Washington · Thomas Jefferson · Visual History