You are here

Cornelia Jefferson Randolph

Bust of Cornelia Jefferson RandolphBorn at Monticello, Cornelia Jefferson Randolph (1799-1871) was the fifth child and third surviving daughter of Martha Jefferson Randolph and Thomas Mann Randolph. Cornelia spent much of her time at the home of her grandfather Thomas Jefferson and, as a young girl, often accompanied him on visits to Poplar Forest. She learned mechanical drawing from Jefferson and practiced by creating renderings of architectural plans for the University of Virginia. When she was a teenager Cornelia gave John Hemmings a dictionary to aid him in learning to read and write. [1] Cornelia never married and lived at Tufton and then Edgehill, the homes of her older brother Thomas Jefferson Randolph. In the 1830s, in order to try to improve the family finances, a school was established at Edgehill where Cornelia taught drawing, painting, and sculpture. She later translated and edited The Parlor Gardener: A Treatise on the House Culture of Ornamental Plants. Translated from the French and Adapted to American Use (Boston, 1861). After the Civil War, Cornelia moved to Alexandria, Virginia, to live with two of her sisters at the home of her niece Martha Jefferson Trist Burke. She died there on 24 February 1871 and was buried in the Monticello Graveyard.


  1. Cornelia Randolph to Virginia Trist, Oct. 25 [1816] (Nicholas Philip Trist Papers).

Further Sources

Filed In: 
People, Personal Life
Featured Blog Posts
by Lisa at the PTJRS
Jefferson’s granddaughters began venturing “into society” in the 1810s. His first granddaughter Ann was married in 1808 at the age of seventeen, after attending only a few balls, dinners, and...More >>


Login or register to participate in our online community.