I. Committee Charge and Overview

Report of the Research Committee
on Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings

Thomas Jefferson Foundation
January 2000

I. Committee Charge and Overview

On December 21, 1998, Dr. Daniel P. Jordan, president of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, appointed a research committee of Monticello staff members, including four Ph.D.'s and one medical doctor, and charged the committee with evaluating the DNA study of Dr. Eugene Foster and associates, assessing it within the context of all other relevant historical and scientific evidence, and recommending the impact it should have on historical interpretation at Monticello. The committee's members were:

 

Chair: Dianne Swann-Wright, Director of Special Programs

 

Whitney Espich, Communications Officer
Fraser Neiman, Director of Archaeology
Anne Porter, Education Instructor
David Ronka, Interpreter
Lucia Stanton, Shannon Senior Research Historian
Elizabeth Dowling Taylor, Head Guide
White McKenzie Wallenborn, Associate Interpreter
Camille Wells, Director of Research

The committee met as a whole ten times from December 1998 to April 1999, to discuss sources read by all members (see III) and reports by individual members on additional topics (issues of interpretation, media response, and the views of historians). Subcommittees on the scientific and documentary evidence were formed to gather and process information and consult with experts in the field. After preparation of a draft report, the committee consulted with members of Monticello's Advisory Committee for the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies and Advisory Committee on African-American Interpretation, and met in February 1999 with six individual members of these committees.

Minutes from the committee meetings are in the files of the Chair, Dianne Swann-Wright.

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