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Ann Cary Randolph Bankhead (Sculpture)

Bust of Ann Cary Randolph Bankhead. Thomas Jefferson Foundation, Inc.Artist/Maker: William Coffee (c. 1774-c.1846)

Created: c. 1818-1820

Origin/Purchase: Monticello

Materials: terra-cotta

Dimensions: 31.75 × 20.32 × 10.16 (12 1/2 × 8 × 4 in.)

Location: South Square Room

Provenance: Thomas Jefferson; by descent to Thomas Jefferson Randolph; by descent to Mrs. Pattie Cary Kean Morris; by gift to the Thomas Jefferson Foundation in 1927

Accession Number: 1927-1

Historical Notes: Ann Cary Randolph, daughter of Martha and Thomas Mann Randolph, was Jefferson's first grandchild and chief gardening correspondent when he was absent from Monticello. "[H]ow stands the fruit with you in the neighborhood & at Monticello," Jefferson wrote twelve-year-old Ann from Washington,

and particularly the peaches, as they are what will be in season when I come home. the figs also, have they been hurt? you must mount Midas & ride over to Monticello to inform yourself, or collect the information from good authority & let me have it by next post.1

Ann tended Monticello's flower garden as well, and Jefferson sent one of two extant drawings of the flower beds there to his granddaughter, on the back of a letter describing his plans:

From yourself I may soon expect a report of your first visit to Monticello, and the state of our joint concerns there. I find that the limited number of our flower beds will too much restrain the variety of flowers in which we might wish to indulge, and therefore I have resumed an idea ... of a winding walk surrounding the lawn before the house, with a narrow border of flowers on each side.2

During the winter of 1805-06, when Ann was fifteen, she lived in the President's House with her grandfather, along with her mother and five brothers and sisters. Just a year before Jefferson's retirement from the presidency, Ann married Charles Lewis Bankhead, a twenty-year-old law student. Their first home was at Carlton, on the western slope of Monticello.3 Ann and Charles's marriage was a troubled one, marred by alcoholism and violence. After one particularly serious episode at Monticello, Jefferson wrote to Bankhead's father hoping to convince him that his son's recovery could only be effected by his moving home, where his sobriety could be constantly enforced.4

Unfortunately, Charles's behavior toward Ann and their children continued to distress the family greatly.5 Following a bloody street fight between Bankhead and his brother-in-law Thomas Jefferson Randolph in 1819, Jefferson wrote that Bankhead deserved to be in a penitentiary. Ann was so attached to her husband that she could not be persuaded to leave him to live at Monticello.6 She died in February 1826, at the age of thirty-five, two weeks after the birth of her fourth child. Jefferson, who was present at Ann's death, "abandoned himself to every evidence of intense grief."7

- Text from Stein, Worlds, 235-36

Further Sources

  • 1. Jefferson to Ann Cary Randolph, May 20, 1803, in PTJ, 40:409. Transcription available at Founders Online. Others (including Thomas Jefferson) often spelled Ann's name "Anne," but she herself seems to have preferred "Ann."
  • 2. Jefferson to Ann Cary Randolph, June 7, 1807, in Family Letters, 307-08. Transcription available at Founders Online. See also Edwin M. Betts and Hazlehurst Perkins, Thomas Jefferson's Flower Garden at Monticello, 3rd ed. (Charlottesville: Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation, 1986), 36-37.
  • 3. Olivia Taylor, "Charles Lewis and Anne Cary Randolph Bankhead," in Shackelford, Descendants, 1:71-72.
  • 4. Jefferson to John Bankhead, October 28, 1815, in PTJ:RS, 9:131-32. Transcription available at Founders Online. See also Malone, Jefferson, 6:159.
  • 5. Martha Jefferson Randolph to Jefferson, November 20, 1816, in PTJ:RS, 10:536-38. Transcription available at Founders Online. Bankhead engaged in a street fight with his brother-in-law Thomas Jefferson Randolph in Charlottesville on February 1, 1819.
  • 6. Malone, Jefferson, 6:298-300.
  • 7. Samuel X. Radbill, ed., "The Autobiographical Ana of Robley Dunglison, M.D.," Transactions of the American Philosophical Society 53, no. 8 (1963): 34. Dunglison was the attending physician.
Filed In: 
Objects, Sculpture

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