Comments on the book:

“Bernetiae Reed has brought together a remarkable amount of data on Thomas Jefferson’s slaves. This is quite different from the answer given by a guide at Monticello who, just a generation ago, said that there was little to be known about the slaves of the nation’s third president. By careful digging over a long period of time, Reed has brought together a veritable treasure trove of materials about Jefferson’s slaves from their family life and their labors to their involvement with their owner. Anyone interested in this family, the white side or the black side, as well as slave families in general would do well to read this work carefully.”

—John Hope Franklin, James B. Duke Professor of History Emeritus at Duke University, and co-author of From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African Americans


“This is a wonderful achievement. With sensitivity and a devotion to detail, Bernetiae Reed has assembled fascinating information on the more than six hundred men, women, and children who lived in bondage on Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia plantations. Colorful family trees clarify family relationships and creative keys reveal locations, occupations, and destinies affected by sale, purchase, and running away. Their world is evoked with color photographs of the buildings and landscapes they knew and reproductions of relevant maps and manuscripts, also in color. An encyclopedic index enhances this remarkable work, which succeeds in bringing a vanished community back to life within the covers of a book.”

—Lucia Stanton, Shannon Senior Historian, Monticello, and author of Free Some Day


“In a remarkable feat of historical detection, Bernetiae Reed has traced and recreated familial connections among the slaves who worked on all of Thomas Jefferson’s many plantations. This handsomely illustrated work provides a valuable reference for genealogists and students of African American and early Virginia history.”

—Nelson D. Lankford, Ph.D., Virginius Dabney Editor of the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Virginia Historical Society, and author of Cry Havoc! The Crooked Road to Civil War, 1861


“Slaves Familes of Thomas Jefferson is an outstanding study of slaves and Monticello. A skilled interpretation of Jefferson’s Farm Book combined with visual materials and genealogical studies make this an invaluable tool for anyone interested in life on Jefferson’s mountain.”

—Gerard W. Gawalt, Ph.D., historian and manuscripts specialist for early American history, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress


“Three years in the making, this analysis of 619 slaves owned by Thomas Jefferson . . . provides a rare glimpse into the lives of African Americans, their families and loved ones, and their struggles to keep kith & kin together. It is also a beautiful book.”

—Loren Schweninger, Elizabeth Rosenthal Excellence Professor, UNCG, and co-author of In Search of the Promised Land: A Slave Family in the Old South


“This is a marvelous book, an essential resource for understanding the Monticello community. Bernetiae Reed has gathered an astonishing collection of documents, maps, and photographs, but more important she has charted the lives of Monticello’s enslaved people. In this book we can see family relationships, work patterns, and a trove of other information. I highly recommend it.”

—Henry Wiencek, author of An Imperfect God: George Washington, His Slaves, and the Creation of America


© 2007-2018 Sylvest-Sarah Inc.