Slavery at Jefferson’s Monticello

Slavery at Jefferson’s Monticello

April 9 – January 4,2015

Thomas Jefferson helped create a new nation based on individual freedom and self-government—yet he remained a slaveholder throughout his life. This powerful, revealing, and deeply personal exhibition follows the stories of six slave families who lived and worked at Jefferson’s plantation—the Fossett, Granger, Gillette, Hemings, Hern, and Hubbard families—and their descendants who fought for justice and helped bring to light their ancestors’ lives and values. Slavery at Jefferson’s Monticello features more than 280 artifacts that represent each family’s trade as well as personal items of Jefferson’s including a walking stick, chess set, books, spectacles, and replica of the portable desk used to draft the Declaration of Independence. Explore the story of slavery in early U.S. history while discovering the struggle and the self-determination at the heart of America’s founding. Leave being inspired to discover your own family heritage and history.

Press Images

Thomas Jefferson by Rembrandt Peale, 1805/Collection of The New-York Historical Society

Thomas Jefferson by Rembrandt Peale, 1805/Collection of The New-York Historical Society

Isaac (Granger) Jefferson/Special Collections, University of Virginia Library

Isaac (Granger) Jefferson/Special Collections, University of Virginia Library

Slavery at Jefferson’s Monticello

Slavery at Jefferson’s Monticello

Image Courtesy National Constitution Center

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Foreground: Thomas Jefferson’s spectacles, made by John McAllister, Philadelphia, ca. 1806. Background: Jefferson’s Micrometer with case, brass, made by Alexis-Marie de Rochon, Paris, ca. 1780

Foreground: Thomas Jefferson’s spectacles, made by John McAllister, Philadelphia, ca. 1806. Background: Jefferson’s Micrometer with case, brass, made by Alexis-Marie de Rochon, Paris, ca. 1780

Image courtesy National Constitution Center

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Items from Monticello including chessmen, ivory, French, ca. 1770–90

Items from Monticello including chessmen, ivory, French, ca. 1770–90

Image courtesy National Constitution Center

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Replica of Thomas Jefferson’s portable desk, 1926 (After the original by Benjamin Randolph, Philadelphia, 1776)

Replica of Thomas Jefferson’s portable desk, 1926 (After the original by Benjamin Randolph, Philadelphia, 1776)

Image courtesy National Constitution Center

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Letter from Thomas Jefferson to Spencer Roane, signed, March 9, 1821

Letter from Thomas Jefferson to Spencer Roane, signed, March 9, 1821

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Granger Family items including: tobacco pipe fragments, horsehoes, and an English stoneware jar

Granger Family items including: tobacco pipe fragments, horsehoes, and an English stoneware jar

Image courtesy National Constitution Center

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Arm chair, probably made by John Hemmings, mahogany, ca. 1817, and headstone for Priscilla Hemmings (ca. 1776–1830), carved by John Hemmings

Arm chair, probably made by John Hemmings, mahogany, ca. 1817, and headstone for Priscilla Hemmings (ca. 1776–1830), carved by John Hemmings

Image courtesy National Constitution Center

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Slavery at Jefferson’s Monticello

Slavery at Jefferson’s Monticello

Image courtesy National Constitution Center

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Slavery at Jefferson’s Monticello

Slavery at Jefferson’s Monticello

Image courtesy National Constitution Center

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Map of Monticello circa 1812

Map of Monticello circa 1812

Image courtesy National Constitution Center

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This exhibition is presented by the Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello in partnership with the National Museum of African American History and Culture. All objects in this exhibition are from the collection of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello, unless otherwise noted.

Additional support for the National Constitution Center’s presentation of this exhibition was provided by a grant from the Pennsylvania Abolition Society.

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