Jefferson’s Poplar Forest: Unearthing a Virginia Plantation

Barbara J. Heath, Jack Gary

Jefferson's Poplar Forest: Unearthing a Virginia Plantation
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Jefferson’s Poplar Forest: Unearthing a Virginia Plantation

Barbara J. Heath, Jack Gary

One hundred years in the life of a founding father s 5,000 acre retreat Poplar Forest embodies the culmination of Jefferson s vision of the American agricultural ideal. This highly readable volume introduces us to the people, objects, and landscapes of Poplar Forest in the tumultuous period between the Revolution and the Civil War. Jefferson s Poplar Forest presents a remarkably multidimensional portrait of the estate as a personal retreat, a designed landscape, a plantation, and a home and workplace for enslaved African American families. Lu Ann De Cunzo, University of Delaware With their productive commitments to long-term and interdisciplinary research, the contributors draw upon the traditional themes of slavery and plantation landscapes but imbue those with new energy through incorporating the issues of ecology, identity, agency, and consumerism. Douglas Sanford, University of Mary WashingtonThomas Jefferson once called his plantation Poplar Forest, the most valuable of my possessions. For Jefferson, Poplar Forest was a private retreat for him to escape the hoards of visitors and everyday pressures of his iconic estate, Monticello.Jefferson s Poplar Forest uses the knowledge gained from long-term and interdisciplinary research to explore the experiences of a wide range of people who lived and worked there between the American Revolution and the Civil War. Multiple archaeological digs reveal details about the lives of Jefferson, subsequent owners and their families, and the slaves (and descendants) who labored and toiled at the site. From the plantation house to the weeds in the garden, Barbara Heath, Jack Gary, and numerous contributors examine the landscapes of the property, investigating the relationships between the people, objects, and places of Poplar Forest. As the first book-length study of the archaeology of a president s estate, Jefferson s Poplar Forest offers a compelling and uniquely specific look into the lives of those who called Poplar Forest home.

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