Scholars

Christa Dierksheide specializes in the history of plantations in the Age of Revolutions, with a focus on Jefferson. Since 2006, she has conceptualized and written exhibitions for Monticello, including “The Boisterous Sea of Liberty” and “The Landscape of Slavery: Mulberry Row at Monticello.” She is also co-author of “Thomas Jefferson’s Worlds,” the introductory film at Monticello and supervises the Getting Word African American Oral History Project at Monticello. Currently, she teaches in UVA’s history department and works at Monticello’s Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies.

Bill Ferster is on the faculty at the University of Virginia with a joint appointment with the Center for Technology and Teacher Education (CTTE) at the Curry School of Education, and the Science, Humanities and Arts Network of Technological Initiatives (SHANTI) at the College of Arts and Sciences, where he directs the VisualEyes Project which helps faculty and students to develop interactive visualizations using VisualEyes, and teaches undergraduate classes in the digital humanities.

Edward Gaynor has been a librarian for over 30 years and specializes in the history of both UVA and the Commonwealth of Virginia. For the past 14 years he has managed the University Archives, which include Thomas Jefferson’s foundational documents and drawings, and has worked to make them more easily accessible to students and scholars.

Gardiner Hallock is the Interim Director of Restoration at the Thomas Jefferson Foundation. Currently he is responsible for the preservation and restoration of Monticello’s historic buildings and the digital and physical recreations of the slave dwellings, workshops, and white workmen’s housing that were once found along Mulberry Row, the Monticello plantation’s main street.

Emilie Johnson is an Assistant Curator at Monticello. Emilie’s research focuses on the architecture and material culture of plantations, using spaces and objects to better understand how people conducted their lives in the past. At Monticello, she concentrates on the lived experiences of women and enslaved people, with a particular interest in those who occupied the house as dependents.

J. Jefferson Looney is the Series Editor for The Retirement Series which documents Jefferson’s written legacy between his return to private life on 4 March 1809 and his death on 4 July 1826. Publication in 2004 of the first of an estimated twenty-three volumes in the Retirement Series represents a milestone in The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, the definitive edition of the papers of the author of the Declaration of Independence and third president of the United States.

Maurie McInnis is Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Professor of art history at the University of Virginia. Her scholarship focuses on the cultural history of American art in the colonial and antebellum South, with an emphasis on the intersection of art and politics, especially as it relates to slavery. She oversees several units, including the Teaching Resource Center, the University of Virginia Press, the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, and the Center for the Liberal Arts

Louis Nelson is an Associate Professor of Architectural History, the Associate Dean for Research and International Programs in the School of Architecture, and the Director of the Program in Historic Preservation. He teaches courses in American architecture specializing in colonial and early national architecture, vernacular architecture, art and architecture of the American South, and theories and practices of sacred space. Nelson’s teaching and research focus on the close examination of evidence-both material and textual-as a means of interrogating the ways architecture shapes the human experience.

Fraser Neiman is director of archaeology at Monticello and lecturer in the Departments of Anthropology and Architectural History at the University of Virginia, where he teaches courses in archaeology and quantitative methods. Neiman’s Monticello research is structured around three ongoing initiatives: The Plantation Archaeological Survey, the Plantation Landscape History Initiative, and the Quarter-Farm Household Archaeology Initiative. Monticello’s archaeology department is also home to the Digital Archaeological Archive of Comparative Slavery (DAACS), which is a collaborative experiment in the use of internet technologies to promote comparative, quantitative, and synthetic study of archaeological data from sites occupied by enslaved Africans and their descendants in the Chesapeake, Carolinas, and the Caribbean. DAACS is supported by Monticello and a series of major grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Peter Onuf is the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Professor Emeritus in the Corcoran Department of History at the University of Virginia and Senior Research Fellow at the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies (Monticello).  His recent work on Thomas Jefferson’s political thought, culminating in Jefferson’s Empire: The Language of American Nationhood (University Press of Virginia, 2000)  and The Mind of Thomas Jefferson (2007, also Virginia), grows out of earlier studies on the history of American federalism, foreign policy, and political economy.  He is now collaborating with Annette Gordon-Reed on “Most Blessed of Patriarchs”: The Worlds of Thomas Jefferson (forthcoming from Norton).   Onuf was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2014.

Lucia (Cinder) Stanton retired in 2012 as Shannon Senior Historian at Monticello, where she had worked for more than 30 years. She is the author of Those Who Labor for My Happiness: Slavery at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, a collection of essays on Jefferson the slaveholder and plantation manager, the enslaved families of Monticello, and some of their descendants. Since 1993, she has directed the Getting Word project, a research and oral history project on the descendants of Monticello’s African-American community. She has published numerous articles on Jefferson’s travels, scientific interests, and agricultural pursuits. She co-edited Thomas Jefferson’s Memorandum Books, a sixty-year record of his daily expenditures, and Jefferson Abroad, a collection of Jefferson’s writings during his five years in Europe.

Henry Wiencek, the author of numerous books, has won the National Book Critics’ Circle Award in Biography, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in History, and the Best Book Award from the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic. His latest work, Master of the Mountain: Thomas Jefferson and His Slaves, was chosen by Jonathan Yardley of the Washington Post as one of the best books of 2012. He has been awarded fellowships at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, the International Center for Jefferson Studies, and the C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience at Washington College, where he was the inaugural Patrick Henry Writing Fellow. He is currently at work on a joint biography of Stanford White and Augustus Saint-Gaudens.