Jefferson's Daughters by Catherine Kerrison

Jefferson's Daughters

The remarkable untold story of Thomas Jefferson's three daughters - two white and free, one black and enslaved - and the divergent paths they forged in a newly independent America. Thomas Jefferson had three daughters: Martha and Maria by his wife, Martha Wayles Jefferson, and Harriet by his slave Sally Hemings. In Jefferson's Daughters, Catherine Kerrison, a scholar of early American and women's history, recounts the remarkable journey of these ...

Details Jefferson's Daughters

TitleJefferson's Daughters
Release DateJan 2nd, 2018
PublisherBallantine Books
GenreHistory, Nonfiction, Biography, Historical, North American Hi..., American History

Reviews Jefferson's Daughters

  • TammyJo Eckhart
    Catherine Kerrison has a difficult task in this book. She wants to tell us about the three daughters that Founding Father, Thomas Jefferson "raised" to adulthood. I say "raised" because as you continue reading you discover just how little direct contact he often had with his daughters, particularly Harriet, who was born into slavery via her mother, Sally Hemings. Hemings had been promised freedom for her children when they turned 21 years old but...
  • David Eppenstein
    This book is either a biographical history of Thomas Jefferson's three daughters, 2 white and 1 black, or a commentary on the plight of women in the late 18th century and early 19th. Whatever it is it's a disappointment. As a history of these three women there is plenty of source material upon which to track the lives of TJ's two surviving white daughters, Martha and Marie. As for the daughter TJ had with Sally Hemings named Harriet there is virt...
  • Biblio Files (takingadayoff)
    Thomas Jefferson had three daughters, two with his wife Martha, and one with his slave, Sally Hemings. Jefferson's Daughters looks at how the daughters were raised, their education, upbringing, expectations, and how they fared in adulthood. Although I was aware that Jefferson had children with Sally Hemings, I did not know that Hemings was actually a half sister of his deceased wife - they had the same father. Sally Hemings' mother also probably ...
  • Susan
    A well written biography of Thomas Jefferson's three daughters, Martha, Maria, and Harriet, the first two born to his wife, the third born to his slave, Sally Hemings. Martha has already been the subject of a full-length biography, but Maria, who died as a young woman, and Harriet, who disappeared into obscurity after being freed, have been given less attention. Much of the book is devoted to bringing the latter two out of the shadows. Kerrison l...
  • Rachel
    This is a definite must-read for those who likes to read history, especially American history. Ever since I visited Monticello, I have been fascinated with Martha Jefferson and Sally Hemmings. This book even shared more details of Maria Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson's younger daughter, whom nothing has been written much about. I will admit that it wasn't till this past year that I realized that Thomas Jefferson had 2 daughters, since not much was m...
  • Cherei
    I read this book slowly.. as I wanted time to research a few items that I'd read. OMG! The author outdid herself. This has to be one of the best researched novels of Jefferson's daughters. If you've read, "First Daughter".. then, this book is a MUST read. You will gain insights that you would not have even thought of prior to reading this story. It's a standalone novel.. you do not need to do prior reading.. but, it does help you understand the J...
  • Cheryl James
    Great history story regarding Jefferson's daughters and his life. Much history on the white daughters, more speculation on the black daughter, but at any rate I enjoyed the story. Audio Version
  • Louise
    Catherine Kerrison tells the stories of Martha Jefferson Randolf, Maria Jefferson Eppes and Harriet Hemings, Thomas Jefferson’s three daughters who survived to adulthood. Their lives show that when their father declared all men created equal, he meant, literally, men.After losing his wife, Jefferson accepted an appointment to represent the new nation in Paris. Martha went with him and enjoyed the convent school she attended. She made lifelong f...
  • Sharon Lawler
    More than a biography of Jefferson's three daughters, Martha and Maria, who were born to his wife, and Harriet Hemings, born to Sally Hemings, the author offers a heavily researched and documented description of the societal and legal constraints on women, especially Southern women, in the US, regardless of their educational or social status. Martha, the oldest, was educated in France during her father's long period of residence there. She benefi...
  • Dawn Wells
    An amazing book written in chronological order and may be a stay on your toes read to keep up. Was very emotional and highly intense at times. The author went deep to help you understand what was really happening at the time. This story of three sisters, white and black and their relationships with their father. The term father here used biologically. The oldest,Martha his oldest and in many ways the Matriarch of the family. She knew him best and...
  • Jo Ann
    This was a very intriguing read for me, and served to inform me more about the mores, values, educational opportunities (and lack thereof), in both Jefferson's time, and for Jefferson in particular. All 3 daughters, and the man himself, were certainly impacted by societal expectations and prejudices. I knew quite a bit about Martha, little about Maria, and almost nothing about Harriet, whose mother was Sally Hemings. We still do not know much abo...
  • Tom Rowe
    Too long.It is rare that I declare a book too long, but this book is indeed too long. While it started off very well and was completely captivating, the last third of the book ended in endless repetition. (That's got to be some sort of logical fallacy.) So here we have the story of Jefferson's three daughters Martha, Maria, and Harriet. In the beginning, we get lots of detail on Martha because he life is so well documented. Maria's brief life was...
  • Bridget Vollmer
    I received this book in a GR giveaway in exchange for my review.This I my first book I've read pertaining to Jefferson' daughters.I thought Catherine Kerrison did a wonderful job not only describing the very different lives of the three sisters but also daily life, education, and the social environment of that time period. I also enjoyed how Kerrison broached the topic of slavery, and how it's impact is still seen in modern times.A great non fict...
  • Lynne Luker
    I struggled reading this book. The author jumped around too much. So much of the history was speculation. Very disappointed.
  • Lois
    I can not reccommend this book. In fact I'm somewhat shocked this was even printed in 2018. The information included is dated, inaccurate, and slavery apologist in tone.This biography while extremely approachable is heavily and not respectfully edited in respect to chattel slavery. This biography includes 2 white women who exploited enslaved peoples and one enslaved person. The enslaved person is presented as a labor exempt 'worker'. If an author...
  • John Findlay
    While I was aware of the Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings relationship and that he fathered several children by her, this book fills in many details that I did not know. And it also depicts the very privileged lives of his two legitimate daughters, Martha and Maria. But women clearly play a very limited role in the early days of our country, being deprived of a full education and the ability to control their own destiny. To ensure their futures...
  • Nicole
    First of all, I disliked this book because the author uses the phrases they "would have" or she "may have" or he "probably" so many times its infuriating. She's basically saying she has no idea what actually happened, but here's what was happening in society at the same time. It's completely pointless!On the other hand, it's hard to find women in the history back then. Men are just so much more visible - women disappear, especially when they die ...
    I got an ARC from Netgalley for review.I was expecting a story about Jefferson's 3 daughters in relation to each other. Mostly, it was a story about Jefferson's White daughters, and then about Jefferson's Black daughter. They did not interact with each other.It's really a study of gender roles in the 19th century. It could have been about any Virginian, slave-holding family.Recommended only for Jefferson scholars.
  • Kathy Riley
    If I could give this book 6 stars, I would. The author is a brilliant historian and writer with the ability to make a time period come alive. I listened to the audio version and offer high praise to the reader as well. Thomas Jefferson had 3 daughters--Martha and Maria, by his wife Martha, and Harriet Hemmings, by Sally Hemmings, his slave and half sister of his late wife. Through the stories of these three women, we get a wide perspective on the...
  • Janet Goodwin
    I enjoyed this book and came away impressed with the intense research the author Catherine Kerrison has done. She has developed a senario of the lives of the three sisters without much help of their own sayings or thoughts left in their own wrtings. The oldest, Martha did write to her family & friends occasionally. If they were saved few survived. Maria wrote to few people and when she did they were short notes. There is no sign Harriet could wri...
  • Joyce
    An interesting look at the lives of 3 women in the early days of the US and the way Thomas Jefferson's beliefs contrasted with his actions concerning women (education and roles) and race. The biographies are revealing and Harriet's (Jefferson' daughter by slave Sally Hemings) life is particularly interesting. Piecing it together required extensive research, since Harriet left Monticello after Jefferson's death, moved north, and passed for white, ...
  • Victoria Van Vlear
    I was very much looking forward to reading a biography about Jefferson's three daughters. But only two thirds of the book was biographical. A full third of the book was a very biased feminist rant against the social mores of the 18th century. The author looked at these women’s lives through the lens of progressive 21st century ideals, which is not the purpose of a biography. Our culture has changed greatly in the last 200 years—of course we d...
  • Tiffany
    This is a well researched and well written history about Jefferson's three daughters, two with his wife and one with his wife's half-sister and slave, Sally Hemmings. Kerrison's depth of knowledge is expressed in a manner that draws the reader in and keeps them engaged throughout the entire work. I found the examination of education, societal expectations, and the fact that Kerrison did not gloss over the fact Jefferson's treatment of Hemmings an...
  • Pam
    A lot of (necessary) conjecture regarding the lives of the daughters of one of our most prolific presidents. Since there was/is not primary sources available, the author used societal norms to fill in what she supposed would be happening in the girls lives at the time. Harriet Hemingway Jefferson disappeared close to her 21st birthday seemingly a run-away. Once again this book hits the sadness of how little women's voices have been cherished thro...
  • Linda
    Like many other readers, the daughter I was most interested in was Harriet Hemings, Jefferson’s daughter by his slave, Sally. Unfortunately, there is apparently little, if any, information about Harriet available, so a lot of the book was about daughter Martha; her sister Maria, who died in childbirth at 25, was touched on. The title was kind of misleading—the words “perhaps” and “probably” were used often, and the author described he...
  • Joann
    I did learn a lot, since I knew very little about Jefferson or post revolutionary America. I found the descriptions of the women’s lives interesting but I was left wanting a lot more information, especially about the Hemings family. And let me just say that I’m grateful that I did not live then. Would not have survived medically, intellectually or politically!
  • Amber
    I’m not sure what happened. Was it because I was distracted while listening? Was it because undertaking a three-way biography was too much? I think it’s a bit of both.
  • Susan Ford
    Really enjoyed this book!
  • Peggy Zeigler
    This was a very interesting read. I found out so many things about Jefferson and his family. I had great discussions with my family about it. Even though there is a great gap in how he treated his white daughters and his black daughters, he also thought more about his nephews and grandsons, than he did the daughters and granddaughters, females were not allowed as much education as males. Girls were suppose to only learn what would help them get a...
  • Joe Keefhaver
    I found much of this book tedious, especially the earlier parts describing the high society circles in which his daughter Martha traveled while Thomas Jefferson was stationed in Paris. Maybe it was more of a women's book than I realized when I requested it, but a lot of female reviewers also found it boring. Fortunately, the book got better as it went along, and it had interesting information about Jefferson and his white and black offspring, as ...