In this building, a dozen enslaved women and girls wove coarse fabric to help clothe Monticello's enslaved population.
Girls began spinning and weaving around age 12—the same time that boys learned nail-making.
Before it was a textile factory, this building housed hired white workers and, for a time, enslaved house servants.
Nance Hemings, a weaver, was part of the large Hemings family, sister to Sally Hemings and master joiner John Hemmings. (Pictured: Detial from "Sketchbook of Landscapes in the State of Virginia" by Lewis Miller, ca. 1850, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.)
Over the course of her life, Nance was owned by four different members of Jefferson’s extended family. (Pictured: Thomas Mann Randolph, Jefferson's son-in-law, who owned Nance Hemings after 1827.)
Once highly valued for her weaving skills, 64-year-old Nance was declared “worth nothing” after Jefferson’s death. (Pictured: Advertisement announcing the sale of Jefferson's property, including "130 valuable negroes".)
The Life of Nance Hemings, an enslaved weaver at Monticello (Running time: 1:29)
Justin Bates on the purpose - and the people - of the Textile Workshop
The Technology of Monticello's Textile Workshop
Operation of the Spinning Jenny
Recreating a Spinning Jenny
Restoring the Textile Workshop at Monticello
(Running time: 1:34)
931 Thomas Jefferson Parkway
Charlottesville, VA 22902