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Jefferson's Daughters: Three Sisters, White and Black, in a Young America

by Catherine Kerrison
# UP3882 Hardcover, 400 pages; 2018
No Longer Available
Thomas Jefferson is among the most famous of America’s founding fathers, but it’s easy to forget that he was an actual father, to daughters Martha and Maria Jefferson—and to Harriet Hemings, one of several children he had with his slave Sally Hemings. (Fact: Sally was Martha and Maria’s biological aunt on their mother’s side, making Harriet their cousin as well as their half-sister.) Historian Catherine Kerrison’s exhaustive biography of the unusual (though not for the time) family offers an intriguing study in contrasts: of Jefferson, a forward-thinking, studious man who nonetheless believed women need only be educated for domesticity; of Martha, who came of age in progressive France before returning to a nation that restricted her independence; of Maria, whose serene beauty masked a deep-seated fear of abandonment; of Sally, who traded her chance for liberty to ensure her children’s; of Harriet, born a slave yet the only Jefferson daughter to earn true freedom. Jefferson’s Daughters: Three Sisters, White and Black, in a Young America is an enlightening, eye-opening deep dive into America’s complicated history and the private lives of one of its most famous families. Also available in Large Print. (KG)
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