In this talk, historian Virginia Scharff will show how knowing the stories of the most important women in the third President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson's life helps us to understand his most influential ideas and achievements. Examining his relationships with the women of his biracial family -- his mother, wife, mistress, daughters and granddaughters -- Professor Scharff presents us what "love" meant to him, and why love mattered.
VIRGINIA SCHARFF is Distinguished Professor of History and Director of the Center for the Southwest at the University of New Mexico. She has published numerous books including Taking the Wheel: Women and the Coming of the Motor Age (1991); Twenty Thousand Roads: Women, Movement, and the West (2003), two textbooks, Present Tense: The United States Since 1945 (1996); and Coming of Age: America in the Twentieth Century (1998); Home Lands: How Women Made the West (coauthored with Carolyn Brucken, 2010); the edited volumes, Seeing Nature Through Gender (2003), and Empire and Liberty: The Civil War and the West (2015). Scharff’s The Women Jefferson Loved (2010) was named a New York Times “Editor’s Choice.”
She was a Research Fellow at the Huntington Library (2007) and at the International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello (2008), and Beinecke Research Fellow at Yale University (2008-9). Since 2003, she has served as Chair of Western Women’s History and Senior Scholar at the Autry National Center in Los Angeles. She is a Fellow and former Executive Board Member of the Society of American Historians. She was President of the Western History Association for 2008. From 2013-2017, she served as Associate Provost for Faculty Development at the University of New Mexico.
Scharff is also the author of four mystery suspense novels, written under the name of VIRGINIA SWIFT: Brown-Eyed Girl (2000), Bad Company (2002), Bye, Bye, Love (2004), and Hello, Stranger (2006). She has two children, Sam and Annie Swift, and lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico with her husband, the architectural historian Chris Wilson. She is currently working on a historical novel.
Introduction and Q&A moderation by Dean of Arts and Science Maria Montoya.
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