A while back, Lucia Stanton, Senior Historian at Monticello, sent a note to the H-OIEAHC email list with links to three unusual parts of her organization’s website—beyond the usual information about the building and the main family living there. Some of these websites are still works in progress—which is in keeping with how Thomas Jefferson lived in his mansion:
The Monticello Plantation Database contains information on over six hundred people who lived in slavery on Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia plantations between 1774 and 1826. It provides details of life span, family structure, occupation, and the transactions of bondage (sale, purchase, gift, and hiring). There are also short biographies of individuals and accounts of various aspects of slavery at Monticello.I’ve also been interested in the Th: Jefferson Encyclopedia, a wiki-style resource of information. The online library catalogue simply makes me jealous. As for Jefferson’s own library, there’s a nifty starting-point on LibraryThing.
The Getting Word website contains information on a project begun in 1993 to interview the descendants of Monticello’s African-American families. The seventy-odd pages of the website include biographical information on dozens of enslaved men and women (and their descendants) as well as plentiful photographs and the results of research in historical records and interviews with over 170 people.
The Monticello Classroom is a teacher-student website for elementary and secondary classroom use, a compilation of resources about Thomas Jefferson and life at Monticello.
Some of Jefferson’s own documents are actually here in New England—they ended up at the Massachusetts Historical Society alongside the papers of Jefferson’s friend, rival, and long-distance friend John Adams.
The M.H.S. offers a virtual look at many of those documents in its Thomas Jefferson Papers website. Among its topics are how the President collected books, drafted the Declaration of Independence for the Second Continental Congress, and managed his slave-labor plantations.