The Women Who Loved Jefferson
A fresh look at our nation’s third President through the women in his life. Scharff, incorporating recent research, provides a series of informative portraits of women related to Jefferson and their importance in his life and career. They include: his mother Jane Randolph Jefferson, his wife Martha Wayles Skelton, his daughters Patsy and Polly, his granddaughters, and the controversial slave, Sally Hemings. Setting each woman firmly within her own milieu, the author makes excellent use of available documentation (almost nonexistent in several instances, particularly concerning his mother and his wife), capably distills what information there is, and focuses clearly on each figure and her place in Jefferson’s life. She skillfully navigates the entangled relationships within their Virginia family network, and fleshes out her narrative with a wealth of historical details concerning the era in which her subjects lived. In the process of profiling each of these women, the author presents the reader with a fuller picture of Jefferson’s life. Readable, accessible, and as compelling as fiction, the text includes notes, bibliography, and family tree. Illustrations and index not seen.