Martha Jefferson Randolph, Daughter of Monticello: Her Life and Times [NOOK Book]

Overview

As the oldest and favorite daughter of Thomas Jefferson, Martha "Patsy" Jefferson Randolph (1772-1836) was extremely well educated, traveled in the circles of presidents and aristocrats, and was known on two continents for her particular grace and sincerity. Yet, as mistress of a large household, she was not spared the tedium, frustration, and great sorrow that most women of her time faced. Though Patsy's name is familiar because of her famous father, Cynthia Kierner is the first historian to place Patsy at the ...
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Martha Jefferson Randolph, Daughter of Monticello: Her Life and Times

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Overview

As the oldest and favorite daughter of Thomas Jefferson, Martha "Patsy" Jefferson Randolph (1772-1836) was extremely well educated, traveled in the circles of presidents and aristocrats, and was known on two continents for her particular grace and sincerity. Yet, as mistress of a large household, she was not spared the tedium, frustration, and great sorrow that most women of her time faced. Though Patsy's name is familiar because of her famous father, Cynthia Kierner is the first historian to place Patsy at the center of her own story, taking readers into the largely ignored private spaces of the founding era. Randolph's life story reveals the privileges and limits of celebrity and shows that women were able to venture beyond their domestic roles in surprising ways.
Following her mother's death, Patsy lived in Paris with her father and later served as hostess at the President's House and at Monticello. Her marriage to Thomas Mann Randolph, a member of Congress and governor of Virginia, was often troubled. She and her eleven children lived mostly at Monticello, greeting famous guests and debating issues ranging from a woman's place to slavery, religion, and democracy. And later, after her family's financial ruin, Patsy became a fixture in Washington society during Andrew Jackson's presidency. In this extraordinary biography, Kierner offers a unique look at American history from the perspective of this intelligent, tactfully assertive woman.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Thomas Jefferson’s eldest surviving daughter, Martha (1772–1836), joined her mother and Jefferson’s slave-mistress Sally Hemings as one of three prominent women in the third president’s life of public prestige and personal tragedy. Kierner, a professor of history at George Mason University, describes how Martha, educated in a Parisian convent, witnessed the births of the American and French Revolutions and later served as her father’s confidante, balancing multiple concerns while following the era’s approved societal and marital constraints. Even when married with 11 children and conflicted over slavery, resourceful Martha remained entangled in her father’s world, from serving as hostess at the White House (in place of her late mother) to overseeing a cadre of Monticello’s female slaves spinning cotton to reduce the family’s financial strain. With an emphasis on the complexities of the extensive relationships among the Jeffersons, Randolphs, and Wayleses (the family of Jefferson’s wife), Kierner succeeds in presenting a well-cited clear view of Martha’s role both behind the scenes of a notable historical figure and as an example of the rarely chronicled contributions of women during the early American era. 30 illus., 1 map. Agent: Lisa Adams, Garamond Agency. (May)
From the Publisher
This book is a welcome addition to Jeffersonian scholarship.--Virginia Magazine

[The] definitive biography of Thomas Jefferson's oldest and favorite daughter. The fascinating, well-researched work is a three-dimensional look at a person who was usually seen in history as no more than Jefferson's hostess.--Rocky Mount Telegram

Library Journal
Historians most often discuss Martha Jefferson Randolph (1772–1836) obliquely as "Patsy," favorite daughter and lifelong companion to her father, Thomas Jefferson. In this thoroughly researched and thoughtfully written account, Kierner (history, George Mason Univ.; The Contrast: Manners, Morals, and Authority in the Early American Republic) tells Martha's story, looking at her directly and offering much insight. Kierner shows us a well-educated, self-assured woman who, as both Jefferson's daughter and the wife of Thomas Mann Randolph in a sometimes troubled marriage, navigated her way through both domestic and political life. Possessed of what Kierner refers to as a "perfect temper," Martha centered her life in the everyday domestic sphere but was also a well-known figure in Washington social circles. Throughout, Kierner offers nuanced glimpses of the limits and possibilities of women's roles in the early American Republic, casts light on Thomas Jefferson (including on his relationship with the enslaved Sally Hemmings) and his reputation, and informs our understanding of late 18th- and early 19th-century American history. VERDICT This will have wide appeal to students of American history, women's studies, and biography.—Mark G. Spencer, Brock Univ., St. Catharines, Ontario
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807882504
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 5/14/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 376
  • Sales rank: 351,092
  • File size: 5 MB

Meet the Author

Cynthia A. Kierner is professor of history at George Mason University.
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Table of Contents

Note on Names and Sources ix

Introduction 5

Chapter 1 Love and Death at Monticello 15

Chapter 2 The Education of Patsy Jefferson 39

Chapter 3 Wife, Mother, Plantation Mistress 75

Chapter 4 The President's Daughter 109

Chapter 5 Return to Monticello 142

Chapter 6 Decay and Dissolution 174

Chapter 7 Honorable Poverty 208

Chapter 8 No Longer a Home for the Family of Thomas Jefferson 245

Epilogue 274

Notes 283

Bibliography 327

Acknowledgments 343

Index 347

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2013

    Excellent learning book on Jefferson's daughter

    good writing

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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