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Jefferson at Monticello

Memoirs of a Monticello Slave and Jefferson at Monticello
James A. Bear, Jr.

BUY Paper · 144 pp. · 5.5 × 8.5 · ISBN 9780813900223 · $21.50 · May 1967

Covering the years from 1781 into the 1820s, these valuable accounts remain the chief source of information about Thomas Jefferson's domestic and personal life, interests, habits, appearance, and day-to-day activities at Monticello.

Isaac Jefferson and Edmund Bacon were each sixty-five years old when their recollections were recorded. What they remember best, of course, are scenes from the past made vivid and immediate by details involving their own experience. Although their recollections of Jefferson differ in a number of ways, apparent in both accounts is a concern for the master whose involvement in national affairs made his life so different from their own.


This volume reproduces two out-of-print accounts which are 'the only substantial contemporary documents' treating the domestic life of Thomas Jefferson at Monticello....These two accounts, one by a slave and the other by an overseer, give glimpses of 'Mr. Jefferson' at close range. The narratives tend to complement each other and are in basic agreement in their treatment of the master of Monticello. The editor's copious notes enhance the value of this publication.

Journal of Southern History

The view of the master of Monticello from the eyes of a slave provides an unusual and engaging glimpse of the domestic life of Jefferson. Less familiar than the memoirs of the account based on the reminiscences of Edmund Bacon, who served as overseer or, as Jefferson called him, farm manager at Monticello from 1806 to 1822....The narratives serve to broaden the picture left by contemporary records of Jefferson's personal characteristics and his private life at Monticello.

Noble E. Cunningham, Jr. · North Carolina Historical Review

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