Monticello: Will you help save history?
Dear Friend of Monticello,
I believe you are someone who respects and appreciates history.
If so, I need your help.
As we approach the end of 2012, I hope you will consider making a year-end gift to support Monticello’s education and preservation efforts. Your gift will help us:
- Develop the highest caliber educational programs. In a recent national survey, only 35% of 4th graders knew the purpose of the Declaration of Independence! Monticello brings history to life for schoolchildren so they can learn about Jefferson’s times, and better understand our nation’s past and present.
- Continue to restore and preserve the house and gardens, and expand our collection of Jeffersonian artifacts. These efforts teach us how people lived in the 18th and early 19th centuries - and how many innovations were developed at Monticello during Jefferson’s lifetime that still impact our lives today.
- Research and publish The Papers of Thomas Jefferson: Retirement Series. The lifeblood of Jeffersonian scholarship, the series is anticipated to have 23 volumes. Eight have been completed, and we hope to publish a new volume annually.
- Maintain a virtual presence to share Jefferson’s ideas with the world online at our web site, www.monticello.org, and through initiatives such as our first national offsite exhibition at the Smithsonian.
While our costs are on the rise, we receive no ongoing federal or state government funding, and ticket sales cover less than 50% of our operating costs. Support from individuals like you helps bridge this gap, and allows us to continue our preservation and education efforts.
We hope you will make a gift today.
LESLIE GREENE BOWMAN
President, Thomas Jefferson Foundation
P.S. Remember, even when you ‘re not able to visit Jefferson’s mountaintop home in person, you can visit us anytime at www.monticello.org where you can make a gift, take a virtual tour of the house, listen to podcasts of recent speakers, get updates of the latest research, look up Jefferson quotes, shop our catalog, and more!
Goner: The big tulip poplar in the angle of the north terrace
My wife and I went back to Monticello for the first time since I wrote a novel about him trying to live in the 21st century with no money, no ID, no job, and no slaves. (We are at UVA’s Cavalier Inn as I write this - Oct. 19, 2012.)
I was stunned today to see no huge tulip poplar tree in the angle of the north terrace.
Readers of the novel will recall that this magnificent tree is an important element in the opening scene and in a climactic scene late in the storyline.
Had I got that totally wrong as I wrote? Had I imagined it being there when in fact I was really remembering another big tree, a cedrela, not a tulip poplar, very near the office at the end of the terrace?
No. I hadn’t imagined that unforgettable tree. Turns out they cut the poplar down within the past year, afraid it could destroy the house if it fell in a storm as did two other trees in the east front of the house without hitting anyone or anything.
The old poplar was planted in Jefferson’s time, it turns out. It was part of his plan for the gardens, walks and plantings around his remodeled house. The TJ Foundation had believed it was a later addition but analysis done after it was felled proved its age.
The tree balanced another poplar the Foundation had known for a fact that Jefferson planted or more accurately directed to be planted by you know who (he mentions it in his notes) at the angle of the south terrace.
It was cut down in 2008 because it was sick and a threat to the house.
Now there are two big stumps cut close to the ground where those trees had stood sentry through the centuries. The house looks naked from the west lawn — as it did in TJ’s time. He fretted about the absence of majestic trees near the house. They were all too young to be grand then.
Tragic, Those poplars, trees TJ knew himself, grew to a majestic height and size and now they are both gone. They were there through the decline of the property, the Civil War, the second-phase Levy family ownership (interrupted when the Confederacy seized the place) when it was restored and saved.
Does it matter in terms of the book? Does it spoil those scenes, which are now even more fictional than they were before?
I don’t think so. Not only does TJ survive in TJRM, so does that vanished tree.
That’s so sad! But I can understand why they did it, my father and I felled some trees by our house last month because he was afraid they might soon fall if we had a storm and low-and-behold we did. Maybe they’ll keep some of the wood from it? I think it would be cute if they used the wood from a Jefferson-era tree for signs or something, to at least keep that connection.
From Monticello’s last email:
Some of you have asked how Monticello fared during Hurricane Sandy, so I thought I would send an update.
We didn’t lose any of our old trees, and there was no damage to the house, which has withstood more than two hundred years of inclement weather.
We are in much better shape than expected, but our thoughts are with people who suffered serious damage and many of whom are still without power.
Thanks again for the good thoughts. We hope to see you up on the mountaintop soon!
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jon Meacham launches « Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power » Sunday, November 11 at Monticello
via Monticello emails
The Thomas Jefferson Visitor Center Milstein Theater
Sunday, November 11, 2012
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Join us for an exclusive book launch and Evening Conversation with Jon Meacham, author of Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power. In this magnificent new biography, already hailed “an extraordinary work,” “…a thrilling and affecting portrait,” and “…probably the best single-volume biography of Jefferson ever written,” the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of American Lion and Franklin and Winston brings vividly to life an extraordinary man and his remarkable times. Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power gives us Jefferson the politician and president, a great and complex human being forever engaged in the wars of his era. Philosophers think; politicians maneuver. Jefferson’s genius was that he was both and could do both, often simultaneously. Such is the art of power.
An Evening Conversation with Jon Meacham includes a copy of Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power, a book signing with Mr. Meacham, and light refreshments after the talk. Reserved tickets are required. $80 ($30 of your ticket represents a tax deductible gift to support Monticello!). Purchase here, or call 434-984-9800.
It’s emails like these that make me want to move to Virginia.