How Best to Lead?

The Wall Street Journal recently reviewed Sons of the Father: George Washington and His Protégés, a “stimulating collection” of essays that “explores Washington’s relationships with a series of younger men” including Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, the Marquis de Lafayette, Henry Knox, and Nathanael Greene. Its editor, Robert M. S. McDonald, is associate professor of history at West Point. In the following essay, McDonald reminds us of the very full range of Washington’s leadership.

A Place for Each Season

Many people picture Vermont with handsome barns overlooking rolling pastures, white country churches punctuating hillsides of blazing maples, and small villages clustered around gracious greens. While not inaccurate, this image does little justice to the architectural richness of a state that retains so significant a variety of building types, landscapes, and historic environments that it was declared a national historic treasure by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Here is a seasonal sampling of places worth a look, drawn from Buildings of Vermont by Glenn Andres and Curtis Johnson (whose photographs also enhance the text), the latest volume in the Buildings of the United States series published by the Society of Architectural Historians and the University of Virginia Press.

ALI Publishes Book #100

Regular visitors to our web site have seen its logo on our home page but may not know what the American Literatures Initiative actually is. The University of Virginia Press is proud to take part in this Mellon-funded program with the goal of publishing books by first-time authors in the field of literary studies. Recently the 100th title in the ALI imprint was published, so this seems like a good time to reflect on this unique, award-winning project

A School That Would Be Different

Rot, Riot, and Rebellion: Mr. Jefferson’s Struggle to Save the University that Changed America is the fascinating history of the early days of the University of Virginia and how the institution’s survival was hardly a foregone conclusion. The book has recently received good reviews from both the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal and is now the subject of a feature in the University of Virginia Magazine. In the following piece, coauthor Carlos Santos considers how Thomas Jefferson’s insistence on separation of church and state extended to the university he founded, a radical idea in a time when religious instruction was central in higher education.

Critics considered Thomas Jefferson’s unorthodox views of Christianity evil as hell fire. Political enemies dubbed him an “audacious howling Atheist.” Ministers called him a tool of French secularism, while others argued that declaring for Jefferson was declaring for no God.

Elected president in 1800, tradition holds that the women of New England hid their Bibles in wells, convinced that Jefferson, aided by his atheistic allies, would fuel bonfires with the Good Book.

New Jefferson Papers documents in Founding Era collection

Thanks to the ongoing “Early Access” transcription program at Documents Compass, we are adding over 16,000 new documents from the Papers of Thomas Jefferson: 9951 documents from the original series, from July 1804 to 3 March 1809 (his last day as president) 6188 documents from the Retirement Series, covering January 1819 to the date of [...]

Pressure Points

It’s been way too long since we have run a piece by Mr. and Mrs. Dog author Donald McCaig. Many of you have read his series of posts about a little sheepdog named Fly (including this one…and this one). In this latest piece, human understanding runs up against dog understanding. Guess who’s smarter.

At the first Sturgis National Finals SDT trial hosts had decorated the field in a patriotic motif. The fetch, drive, and crossdrive panels were vivid red, white, and blue. Which created a problem for the sheep. Put yourself in their wool: here they’d been living quiet sheepy lives on some butte somewhere, been snatched up, loaded into large aluminum trailers (from which no sheep had ever returned), and plopped down in unfamiliar pens (“Where are we, Martha!!!”), until they and three others were taken by a mounted cowboy and a couple dogs and spotted for an unknown dog to suddenly appear and take AWAY!