The Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies
Through the years, the wide variety of Jefferson's interests has attracted a diverse group of people to study him, from architects to scientists. In 1994, the Thomas Jefferson Foundation established the for the purpose of encouraging people to study and to teach about Thomas Jefferson. In 2002, the Foundation opened the Jefferson Library, the first free-standing research facility dedicated to the study of a founding father.
A principal mission of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, the private, nonprofit organization which owns and operates Monticello, is education. Sponsoring a research center devoted to Jefferson studies, a long-term goal of the Foundation, was made possible by the availability of Kenwood, a 78-acre residential estate on land once owned by Jefferson. Situated just across the road from Monticello, Kenwood is now the headquarters of the International Center, established in cooperation with the University of Virginia.
The stately main residence at Kenwood was designed by the New York architect William Adams Delano and was built between 1939 and 1941 for Major General and Mrs. Edwin M. Watson, a senior aide to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and his wife, Frances Nash Watson, a noted concert pianist. The most distinguished among Kenwood's many notable visitors was President Roosevelt, for whom the guest cottage -- called "the Little White House" by Life Magazine -- was expressly built. The new Jefferson Library, which was designed specifically to match the style of the main house, sits on the Kenwood property.
Education and Research
The dual purpose of the Center is research and education -- to foster Jefferson scholarship and to disseminate its findings. Four existing departments at Monticello -- Research, Education, Archaeology, and the Jefferson Library -- have been integrated with the research facility at Kenwood to form the configuration of staff, facilities, and programs that comprise the International Center. The activities of the Center are diverse and multidisciplinary. It is a residential site for individual Jefferson scholars and teachers, as well as a venue for lectures, seminars, and conferences.
The Center was designed to be proactive. It serves as a nerve center of Jefferson scholarship and teaching and as a clearinghouse for Jefferson research. It seeks an active role in the ongoing study of Thomas Jefferson internationally by supporting a wide range of inquiry; by building a network of scholars, teachers, and resources; by helping to define new areas of investigation; and by promoting the application of new technologies to Jefferson scholarship. The Center also coordinates Monticello's professional internships.
An expanded publications program has been made possible by a major contribution to the Foundation's endowment. Important Jefferson titles that go out of print are reissued, and a new series of authoritative books aimed at a general audience, Monticello Monographs, features titles such as Slavery at Monticello, Archaeology at Monticello, and Jefferson's Library. A more scholarly series, Monticello Editions, will feature definitive editorial treatment of key Jefferson documents such as Notes on the State of Virginia and the Legal Commonplace Book.
|« Back to "Sanctum Sanctorum"|