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.
Luckily, we knew just who to turn to: Jean Bauer, creator of "The Early American Foreign Service Database . . .
In 1995, Alan Alda was the featured speaker at a special dinner on Monticello's West Lawn. Fresh from a filming trip to China for PBS's Scientific American Frontiers, the award-winning actor related his efforts to look for "clues into [Jefferson's] character" and made connections between efforts by a Chinese scientist to produce a high-yield strain of rice and Jefferson's commitment to the sciences and freedom of thought. (Added to Monticello Podcasts on Jan. 28, 2010. Approx. 22 min. )
Contemporary visitor accounts of Thomas Jefferson and Monticello offer interesting insights on the former president in his retirement years. Ellen Hickman, assistant editor at the Papers of Thomas Jefferson: Retirement Series, outlines a project underway to gather and publish visitor accounts, shares some amusing anecdotes from the collection, and discusses how studying visitor descriptions alters our understanding of Jefferson.
Writer and historian Andrea Wulf talks about her recent book, The Brother Gardeners: Botany, Empire and the Birth of an Obsession, that traces the origin of the English country garden through the collaborative effort between two men and two countries: American farmer, John Bartram, and London cloth merchant, Peter Collinson. (Added to Monticello Podcasts on Aug 6, 2009. Approx. 44 min. )
Rick Britton, author of Jefferson: A Monticello Sampler and part-time Monticello interpreter, details Jefferson's involvment in the identification of Megalonyx jeffersonii, an extinct ground sloth whose bones were discovered in a cave in Virginia.
Vegetables and Seasoning in Early American Southern Cuisine
Nancy Carter Crump, a culinary historian and author of Hearthside Cooking: Early American Southern Cuisine, dispels the myth that overcooking vegetables was uniformly a part of early southern cooking and highlights some surprising uses of herbs and spices in the early Nineteenth Century.
(Added to Monticello Podcasts on April 30, 2009. Approx. 7 min. Excerpt and talk © 2009 Nancy Carter Crump)