Jefferson and the Early Diplomatic Corps
The recent controversy over release of U.S. diplomatic cables via Wikileaks got us thinking about how Jefferson, the U.S.'s first Secretary of State under the Constitution, and his successors communicated with their ambassadors and consuls abroad.
Monticello is the autobiographical masterpiece of Thomas Jefferson—designed and redesigned and built and rebuilt for more than forty years—and its gardens were a botanic showpiece, a source of food, and an experimental laboratory of ornamental and useful plants from around the world.
History has generally overlooked Benjamin Franklin Ficklin (1827-1871). This is somewhat surprising, considering that Ficklin was instrumental in founding the Pony Express, participated in one of the Civil War's most desperate assaults, ran the blockade for the Confederacy, was arrested in connection with the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, and barely escaped death numerous times while running freight and mail across the rough-hewn American West. He also once owned Monticello.
The ICJS fellowship program for domestic and international scholars promotes research of Jefferson’s life and times and the community at Monticello. Since its founding, the ICJS has hosted nearly 300 domestic and international scholars from the U.S.
The Department of Archaeology is dedicated to studying and preserving Monticello's archaeological record, and to deciphering its meaning through comparative research. Historical topics of special focus in the Department's fieldwork include landscape history and slavery, both at Monticello and in the Chesapeake region.