The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family

non-fiction by Annette Gordon-Reed


The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family is a 2008 book by American historian Annette Gordon-Reed. It recounts the history of four generations of the African-American Hemings family, from their African and Virginia origins until the 1826 death of Thomas Jefferson, their master, Sally Hemings' partner, and the father of her children.
It is based on Gordon-Reed's study of legal records, diaries, farm books, letters, wills, newspapers, archives, and oral history. Gordon-Reed wanted readers to "see slave people as individuals" and to "tell the story of this family in a way not done before". Jefferson scholar Joseph Ellis has called the book "the best study of a slave family ever written".
The book has won sixteen awards and was a finalist for the 2008 National Book Critics Circle Award in Biography and the 2009 Mark Lynton History Prize.

First Published


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