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

Reviews Jefferson's Daughters

  • abby
    After TWO MONTHS of trying to read this, I'm pulling the plug about a third of the way in. I hate to do it, but this book is so, so, so boring. I feel like I'm being forced to read it for school. And I say this as someone who reads a decent amount of non-fiction and historical books. I got pulled in by the gorgeous cover art, which belies the dry, academic effort inside.This book follows the daughters of Thomas Jefferson: his two legitimate, whit...
  • 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...
  • 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 ...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • Susan Ford
    Really enjoyed this book!
  • 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
  • TC
    I am not a historian by either inclination or education. I come from the upper Midwest and was not familiar with either Southern ways nor racial diversity. I chose to read this book because I was interested in the lives of women in the post Revolutionary era. Professor Kerrison examines the live of 3 very different women. Martha and Maria are the daughters of Thomas Jefferson and his wife Martha. Harriet Hemings is Jefferson's daughter by slave S...
  • Brandi D'angelo
    Jefferson's Daughters is chock full of history, not only about Jefferson's daughters, but of the time period, customs, education, social etiquette, work, and more. One of the main themes is that of slavery. Author Catherine Kerrison does a fine job of delving into the hard telling of the history of slavery, how it affected woman in particular, and how its effects are still woven into life as we know it today. The story centers around 3 of Jeffers...
  • 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...
  • Marti
    Jefferson’s Daughters by Catherine Kerrison was a unusual choice for me to read. It was historically researched nonfiction, that relied on the many accounts of the time period to help fill in gaps. Despite my trepidation of the genre, I was fascinated enough to pick up and completely read the book. I found myself intrigued by the contradictions that made up Thomas Jefferson and how he treated his daughters. Thomas Jefferson had three daughters ...
  • Sharlene
    It's easy to forget that when Jefferson was alive women had no value. They could not own property, couldn't vote, there were no vaccines, except for small pox, no antibiotics, & you risked your life with every pregnancy. Only 2 of Jefferson's 5 children lived to adulthood. Martha birthed 12 children, her sister Maria died in childbirth very young. This is a fascinating look at the world, both here & America that Jefferson's 3 daughters had. One m...
  • Deb
    I received this book courtesy of NetGalley and its publisher, Random House. This book is interesting right from the start. The lives of each of Thomas Jefferson’s three daughters, Martha, Maria, and Harriet, are detailed very thoroughly. It is apparent the author has done a significant amount of research. After finishing the book, I felt I knew each of his daughters and the challenges each encountered. The reader learns not only about Jefferson...
  • Sandra
    It was a crucial time in our nation’s history. Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence, was also raising his daughters alone during this time. His wife, whom he’d dearly loved, had died in childbirth, leaving him to raise their two daughters. The third daughter mentioned in this book, was borne by his slave.This book is about a different time, indeed. It was a time when a wealthy man could write a document about liberty and j...
  • Amanda P
    If you're interested in American history; this is a must read book. Catherine Kerrison really did her research and it shows. It portrays Jefferson as a relatable, flawed human rather than the celebrated founding father that he normally is shown to be.I had no idea he had 3 girls that lived to adulthood; let alone one born into slavery. I honestly thought he just had the one because very little is mentioned about his younger two in history books. ...
  • Julie
    Received an ARC via NetGalleyThis book has a good number of paintings and photos of what the author discusses. The author has a lot of bibliographic information and notes at the end of the book if you want to do more reading/research. The completed book is supposed to have a family tree and map, which I think would have greatly helped me keep track of everybody and where they are located. I also would have liked a timeline. The author went back a...
  • 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 ...
  • Alyssa
    I did get this book for free for an unbiased review.I will start by saying that the copy I received was before the release date and that it did not include maps or even the genealogical family tree. This would have been nice to have included in the book even for a pre-release copy.The book itself was written well but I didn't feel like I got a whole lot of new information. I learned that President Jefferson was not the person I thought he was, an...
  • Joseph J.
    Superb, and compliments the work of Annette Gordon Reed. Three daughters: Only Martha lives to old age (and poverty). Maria follows her mother early into the grave from childbirth. And Harriet, the daughter of Sally Hemmings simply disappears into Washington D.C. life- by passing? By marriage to a white man? This is the story of an American family and a racial culture we still live with everyday. There is much in these pages detailing the dispari...
  • Suzanne
    A fascinating look at two overlapping extended families: Thomas Jefferson as a father to his two surviving daughters with his wife Martha after she died, the other relatives who stepped in to help when Jefferson was deeply involved in government, those daughters Martha and Maria, contrasted with Elizabeth Hemings, her daughter Sally (closer in age to Jefferson's oldest daughter than his wife) and Elizabeth's other children, Thomas and Sally's chi...
  • 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...
  • Debbie
    Thank you Netgalley for a copy of this book in exchange for a fair review.I enjoyed learning about Jefferson's daughters. This book was well researched and interesting. The author had to conjecture about the lives of all the daughters because there was not much written about them. This is especially true about Harriet Hemings because she was born a slave. I like Catherine Kerrison's feminist take on history and the efforts she made to learn more ...
  • Janilyn Kocher
    This is an excellent book. I really enjoyed reading Kerrison's research. I appreciated her sleuthing capabilities in regard to what happened to Harriet Hemings, but I think her suppositions are stretched as to an assumed name Hemings may have taken. Hemings successfully erased her existence for reasons the author enumerated, although Hemings relatives may have known her fate, but unfortunately that information has not been preserved. Still, Jeffe...
  • Kathleen
    I will admit I chose the wrong book to read. I kept trying, but kept falling asleep. If you are a history fiend you will probably love it -- my history fiend friend did. Me, not so much. Let's face it, it's difficult to write much non-fiction about historical women because they really didn't matter much at the time. Nearly all the journals, ledgers, newspapers, correspondence were written for and about men. The information in this book is well do...
  • Bridget
    Lots of details in this well written book about Jefferson's daughters. I think by now everyone knows that Thomas Jefferson had children by his wife and by Sally Hemmings, a slave on his plantation. But that's about all most people know. Through careful research Catherine Kerrison is able to give lots of details about three daughters, two white, one black. While their father is one of "the fathers of our country," these three daughters lived lives...
    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.