The fellowship program at the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies promotes research of Jefferson’s life and times and the community at Monticello. The Center offers short-term fellowships for domestic and international scholars to consult with Monticello scholars and librarians and to utilize the resources of the Jefferson Library and the University of Virginia libraries.



Linda Binsted, Senior Associate, URS/AECOM

"Brick Palladian Architecture: Jefferson's Transformation of Stone to Clay"

Andrew Fagal, Associate Editor, The Papers of Thomas Jefferson

"Arsenal of Liberty: The Political Economy of War in the Early Republic, 1775-1825" Fagal's book project investigates an important problem of American history: how did the United States, largely dependent upon foreign sources of arms and munitions during the revolution, become self-sufficient – and even an exporter to Latin America – during the early republic? His research into the relevant state and personal papers, business archives, and economic data demonstrate that the answer to this question can be found in the politics of arms acquisition. Hamiltonian Federalists and Jeffersonian Republicans all believed that the U.S. was hampered by its lack of a domestic arms industry, but argued in the 1790s and 1800s over the best means of securing self-sufficiency. Federalists generally preferred state-run and managed enterprises while the Republicans used economic incentives to protect and encourage private firms. The end result, by the 1820s, was a mixed arms industry of public and private producers making weapons for local, national, and international markets. By contextualizing arms acquisition in the framework of partisan politics, governance, and economic development Fagal's project contributes to recent historiographical interest in the history of state formation and the new History of Capitalism.

Emily Greenfield, Ph.D. Candidate in history, Stanford University

"Beyond the Script: Slavery, Race, and Memory at a Public Monticello" At its inaugural meeting, on April 24, 1923, the board of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation approved a constitution that doubled as a mission statement. The foundation’s primary objective, it declared, was to “to purchase, preserve, and maintain Monticello…as a national memorial.” What would it mean to take seriously that historical understanding – to study Monticello as a site of national memory-making? Using a methodology developed by scholars of collective memory, this paper will explore the process and politics behind the museum’s early interpretation, with a particular emphasis on questions of race. From the early 1900s through the 1950s, tumultuous decades that witnessed global conflict and the rise of anti-immigrant sentiment, the apex of Jim Crow, the emphatic reinforcement of Lost Cause mythology, and the passage of Brown v. Board, the nation’s most familiar slave plantation was rendered a testing ground for national belonging, and an increasingly white space. This is the story behind that rendering.

Daniel Gullotta, Ph.D. candidate in American religious history at Stanford University

"Pious Jeffersonianism: The Rise of Andrew Jackson and the Transformation of American Religious Politics" Daniel N. Gullotta is a Ph.D. candidate (ABD) in American religious history at Stanford University. His current research is on how religious politics influenced the birth of the Second Party System, particularly in the rise of Andrew Jackson and his Democratic Party. During his time at the Center for Jefferson Studies, Daniel will be researching how religious issues facing presidential contenders morphed from Jefferson’s day to Jackson’s. Presented as the heir of Thomas Jefferson though a steadfast Presbyterian, Daniel will researching how Jackson and his allies were able to transform religious politics in the early republic. Daniel argues that Jackson, under the mantle of ‘pious Jeffersonianism,’ would be a man equally faithful to Christianity and its importance within American society but also to the principles of free conscience as enshrined in the Constitution.

Clifford Humphery, Ph.D. candidate in Politics, Van Andel Graduate School of Statesmanship, Hillsdale College

Humphrey's project, “Nicholas Trist’s Vindication of Thomas Jefferson from the Charge of Supporting Nullification,” aims to fill an interesting gap in the historiography of Nicholas Trist—who married Jefferson’s granddaughter—and a potentially pivotal gap in the scholarship of the political theory of Thomas Jefferson. In 1834, while living at Monticello, Trist filled forty-six notebook pages with a rough draft of a defense of Jefferson from the charge that Jefferson supported the doctrine of nullification. Nullification was then a threat to the union and later proved an important precursor to the Civil War. Trist never completed his project, and his unfinished treatise has never been published or analyzed.

Andrew Kettler, Ph.D, Research Associate, William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, University of California, Los Angeles

Kettler will focus his investigations on expanding his monograph analysis of the racial olfactory of Thomas Jefferson in The Smell of Slavery: Olfactory Racism and the Atlantic World into an article that focuses on the various senses applied to mark race at Monticello. Due to Jefferson’s vast literary and scientific connections throughout the Atlantic World, access to correspondence from the Jeffersonian aspects of the Republic of Letters will help to provide an even broader analysis of racialization through how scholars in contact with Monticello wrote of their sensory experiences. Kettler will also apply the Digital Archeological Archive of Comparative Slavery to access sources on the material culture of slave societies in Virginia and throughout the American South. That specific material access will work alongside the anthropological work applied in the second part of his monograph that focuses on African retention of olfactory cultures in the New World.

Sue Kozel, History Adjunct Instructor, Kean University, Retired

Building upon her 2019 book chapter, "Thomas Jefferson's Complicated Friends," Kozel will to go deeper into the lives of Quaker overseers and merchants with whom Jefferson worked on his slave plantations and in Philadelphia. Exploring the issues of "celebrity" and ethics, she will consider why Quakers who were repulsed by slavery worked with Jefferson in various capacities (and why Jefferson worked with them). Additionally, Kozel will explore why Quakers worked for or with Jefferson and did not object to his slavery or slavery throughout the British colonies and later American world. Kozel has recently retired, and is currently writing an article for 200,000 New Jersey teachers featuring slavery and abolition-related resources during the American Revolutionary period and its immediate aftermath. In November, she will be leading a professional development session for New Jersey teachers at the New Jersey Education Association Convention on the same topic.

Christopher Pearl, Associate Professor of History, Lycoming College

"The War Executives: Debating and Creating Executive Power during the American Revolutionary War"

Alyssa Penick, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellowship, Age of Jefferson, Jefferson Scholars Foundation, University of Virginia

Penick's scholarship focuses on the intersection of law and religion in the colonial and early national era. While at ICJS, she plans to examine the relationship between two seminal events - religious disestablishment and Jefferson's founding of a secular public university, the University of Virginia. Jefferson regarded both events as two of his greatest achievements, but the relationship between these projects deserves closer consideration. This project will look closely at the sale of property from St. Anne's Parish in Albemarle County, which helped fund the University's founding. In addition to examining the transfer of property from church to state, Penick will also explore the ongoing relationship between the parish and the University to consider how Charlottesville's antebellum spiritual community grew and changed alongside the avowedly secular college.

Emelia Robertson, Ph.D. Candidate in English Language and Literature, University of Michigan

"Cultivating Conviviality: Alcohol, Jeffersonian Sociability, and Monticello's Object-Scapes" In 1801, Thomas Jefferson wrote to his daughter, Martha, about the continuous stream of guests who had been making their way to Monticello. Though she had expressed her consternation at being “Allways in a croud,” Jefferson himself urged her to think of “the present manners and usages of our country,” and to “consider that these visits are evidences of the general esteem which we have been all our lives trying to merit.” This project explores lived experiences and material conditions of the enslaved people laboring on the Monticello estate to actualize the convivial social atmosphere that played host to the elite “crouds” coming to the little mountain. It will explore the ways in which alcohol production and social drinking on the estate created a network of objects and persons whose craftsmanship and collaboration allowed—paradoxically—for disruptions to Monticello’s social order.

Laura Sandy, Senior Lecturer in the History of American Slavery, University of Liverpool; Co-Director of the Centre for the Study of International Slavery

“'Clever,' 'Industrious,' and 'Well Qualified' Women: The Role of Non-Elite and Enslaved Women on Jefferson and Washington’s Plantations"

Holly Shulman, Editor-in-Chief, Dolley Madison Digital Edition

"Lest Our People Should Suffer: Dolley Madison and the Montpelier Enslaved Community"

Patrick Spero, Librarian and Director of the American Philosophical Society Library

Spero is conducting research on Andre Michaux’s failed attempt to explore the interior of North America in 1793. Based upon a fundraising document written in Thomas Jefferson’s hand and held by the American Philosophical Society today, this project will use Michaux’s story as a way to explore early American science, the age of Atlantic Revolutions, and the political and diplomatic history of the early American republic. Michaux was a French botanist who spent a decade documenting the flora of eastern North America. In 1793, he proposed an ambitious undertaking: to head west and document all the flora and fauna from the Mississippi to the Pacific Ocean – something that Meriwether Lewis and William Clark would eventually do with Jefferson’s backing about a decade later. In 1793, Michaux convinced then Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson to support his proposal, and Jefferson used his position at the American Philosophical Society to raise significant funds for the expedition. Before Michaux could leave Philadelphia, though, he fell in with the new French ambassador Edmund Genet. Genet asked Michaux to instead carry secret plans to George Rogers Clark, living on the frontier of the United States. Genet hoped that Clark would raise an American militia loyal to the revolutionary government of France and invade Spanish-controlled New Orleans. Ultimately, the Washington administration, angered by the interference of a French ambassador in American politics and foreign policy, forced Genet’s recall. Michaux, meanwhile, was never able to cross the Mississippi as he proposed. At the ICJS, Spero will be researching Jefferson’s role in this episode and trying to better understand Jefferson’s visions of and interest in the West in the 1790s.

Grant Stanton, Ph.D. candidate, University of Pennsylvania

"The (In)Dignity of Man: Morality and the Politics of Insult in Revolutionary America" Grant Stanton is studying the role of insults in precipitating and shaping the American Revolution, especially in relation to emergent notions of human dignity in the writings of Jefferson and others. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate in History at the University of Pennsylvania.

Matthew Steilen, Professor, School of Law, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York

“Violence and Peace in Virginia Legal Culture” This research project is a study of Virginia legal culture and its relationship to national politics. The focus is on the understandings and practices of an elite body of lawyers practicing in Virginia’s central courts around the time of the Revolution. Jefferson was among these lawyers, as were John Marshall, St. George Tucker, and Edmund Randolph. They shared a vision of law nurtured by the kinds of proceedings that took place among learned lawyers and judges in these courts, and they developed a political vision and program of institutional reform that gave a central place to that particular form of political activity. A central part of this vision was peace: the idea that proceedings in courts under the counsel of learned lawyers were peaceful, in contrast to the political violence of the legislature. While proceedings in legislatures could be violent (actually violent), in the long run it became impossible to sustain the view that courts would peacefully settle controversial political questions.

John Van Horne, Director Emeritus, Library Company of Philadelphia

"Philadelphia’s Earliest Museums, 1782-1827: Reconstructing a City’s Visual Culture" Van Horne's digital humanities project is a virtual reconstruction of two of America’s earliest museums, the first opened in 1782 by the eccentric Swiss collector Pierre Eugène Du Simitière (1737-1784), and a second four years later by Charles Willson Peale (1741-1827), of which Thomas Jefferson was President of the Board of Visitors. Much has been written about these two museums (especially the much better-known Peale Museum), but nowhere is there a comprehensive accounting of just what these two museums held and exhibited to the public. He is creating a database (and ultimately a searchable, sortable website) of all the contents of the two museums that can be identified from numerous contemporaneous sources – thousands of items including paintings, prints, drawings, sculpture, other works of art, natural history specimens (both fauna and flora), ethnographic artifacts, antiquities, curiosities, fossils, minerals, coins, books, pamphlets, maps, etc. The website, which will provide scholars with access to the rich cultural world of Philadelphia during the almost half-century from the founding of Du Simitière’s American Museum in 1782 until Peale’s death in 1827, is being developed by the Center for Digital Editing at UVA and will be hosted by the American Philosophical Society.

Laurent Zecchini, Journalist

"Jefferson, the most 'French' of all the American presidents" Zecchini's research project is closely linked with his plan to write a biography of Thomas Jefferson in the light of Franco-American relations in the 18th and early 19th centuries. Jefferson lived in France for five years, during the eve of the French Revolution; he wrote the Declaration of Independence, which strongly influenced the French Declaration of the Rights of Man; he bought Louisiana from Napoléon, and still... he is almost unknown in France. Zecchini's book aims to fill this historic gap, by concentrating to Jefferson's personality and his commitment to France. His ambition is to reveal to the French public a complex and fascinating historical figure, while taking a critical look at a bilateral relationship that has never ceased to be as tumultuous as it is friendly.

list of recent ICJS and Barringer Fellows is available.

Short-term fellowships are underwritten by endowments established for this purpose by the Batten Foundation and Wachovia Corporation (formerly First Union National Bank of Virginia).