We at Monticello are saddened by the recent passing of historian and biographer David McCullough. His accolades speak to the significant impact of his career; two Pulitzer Prizes, two National Book Awards and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, to name just a few. His work provided fresh insights to seemingly familiar subjects.

Here at Monticello, his impact is similarly significant. He served on our Board of Trustees from 1996 until 1999 and has been an Honorary Trustee since 2000, spoke at our Independence Day ceremony in 1994, gave the keynote address at the dedication of the Jefferson Library in 2002, and gave the keynote address at our 2017 Cabinet Retreat. 

“My whole life’s interest in history began at Monticello,” McCullough once said. “I’ll never forget it.”

We offer our sincerest condolences to Mr. McCullough’s family, friends, and all who mourn his loss.

1994—McCullough welcomes new citizens at Monticello's annual Independence Day Celebration and Naturalization Ceremony

"All honor to Jefferson in our own world now, in 1994. We can never know enough about him. Indeed we may judge our own performance in how seriously and with what effect we take his teachings to heart. When he wrote the Declaration of Independence, he was speaking to the world then, but speaking to us also, across time. The ideas are transcendent, as is so much else that is bedrock to what we believe as a people, what we stand for, so many principles that have their origins here, with the mind and spirit of Thomas Jefferson."—David McCullough, July 4, 1994

1996—David McCullough joins Monticello's Board of Trustees


1997—McCullough poses at Monticello with author John Grisham and filmmaker Ken Burns

2001—McCullough publishes his Pulitzer Prize-winning biography John Adams, renewing public interest in the Founding Era and the second president's long friendship and rivalry with Thomas Jefferson

2002—McCullough dedicates the new Jefferson Library at Monticello's Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies

2017—McCullough speaks at Monticello's annual Cabinet Retreat dinner

David and Rosalee McCullough on the West Lawn of Monticello in 2017; photo by Peggy Cornett