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Blog Posts by Anna Berkes

Read what Monticello staff members and guest authors have to say about Jefferson, Monticello, and how they experience Jefferson's experiment every day.


Over the July 4th weekend I celebrated by watching a lot of Founding-Fathery patriotic television shows. This was more disturbing than entertaining, as one particular show - which I shall forebear to mention here - set me off on a Rumpelstilskin-esque fit of rage. I actually yelled at my television...More >>
It would be gilding the lily somewhat for me to try to talk too much about this, so I'll just say that author/artist Maira Kalman visited Monticello and captured the experience in one of her trademark picture-essay blog entries, entitled "Time Wastes Too Fast." It is, in the words of one commenter...More >>
True Story: In 1820-something, John Adlum, one of America's first wine geeks and sometime correspondent of our TJ's, writes to his friend Nicholas Longworth, "In bringing this grape [by which he meant the Catawba] into public notice, I have rendered my country a greater service, than I would have...More >>
As I believe I mentioned in a previous blog post, this fall will mark the 200th anniversary of Meriwether Lewis 's untimely and weird death on the Natchez Trace. To prepare for the momentous occasion, I felt the need to read up on the whole debate on the nature of his death: was it suicide, or...More >>
Since I set up my Google Alert, which allows me to track when new mentions of "Thomas Jefferson" appear on the Internet, I've been amazed to see that there is almost always a tiny little wave of rhetorical consultations of TJ in reaction to each big news story. In essence, every time something big...More >>
First off, apologies (again) for the lackadaisical nature of my blogging in the last few weeks. I fear the pace may slow down a bit as we enter the busy months of summer. So, on with the business: just minutes ago I received a book which I feel certain will set many scholarly hearts aflutter here:...More >>
The 2008 issue of Furniture History: The Journal of the Furniture History Society is All John Soane All the Time, with “A Catalogue of the Furniture in Sir John Soane’s Museum,” as well as several articles on John Soane and his furniture. Who's John Soane, you say, and what's he got to do with...More >>
Increasingly I'm coming to believe that I'm totally wasting my time in assiduously searching all sorts of websites, databases and books to figure out whether or not Thomas Jefferson is the source of a given quote. Really (I tell myself), if it quacks like a duck, it's most likely a duck. Or, in my case, if it sounds like a Hallmark card or a self-help book, it's probably not from the pen of Thomas Jefferson. Just to entertain you, here are some of my favorite silly quotes that people have attributed to Jefferson:More >>
Here at the Jefferson Library we are great consumers of pie, leftover food, and quirky publishers' catalogs. (Also Alpenland catalogs.) For the past month we've been amusing ourselves with the Shire Books catalog - you can buy entire books on things like perambulators and village pumps and...More >>
This month's Magazine Antiques features an article by Cybèle Gontar on Campeachy (Campeche) chairs - the article is heavy on the TJ content. Campeachy chairs , for those who may be unfamiliar with them, are curious low-slung neo-something pieces of furniture, of which Jefferson was inordinately fond and owned several. Sitting in one shifts your center of gravity in such a way that they are right tricky to get out of.More >>

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