Thomas Jefferson's Rude Guests at Monticello

In 1880, Laura C. Holloway wrote:

"There were few eminent men of our country, except, perhaps, some political adversaries, who did not visit Mr. Jefferson in his retirement, to say nothing of distinguished foreigners." But all visitors were not as agreeable as "eminent men."

"There are a number of persons now living [in 1880] who have seen groups of utter strangers, of both sexes, planted in the passage between his study and dining-room, consulting their watches, and waiting for him to pass from one to the other to his dinner, so that they could momentarily stare at him. A female once punched through a window-pane of the house, with her parasol, to get a better view of him. When sitting in the shade of his porticoes to enjoy the coolness of the approaching evening, parties of men and women would sometimes approach within a dozen yards, and gaze at him point-blank until they had looked their fill, as they would have gazed on a lion in a menagerie."

The text was first published in Laura C. Holloway, The Ladies of the white House; Or, In the Home of the Presidents. Being a Complete History of the Social and Domestic Lives of the Presidents from Washignton to Hayes -- 1789-1880. Bradley & Company, Philadelphia, and R. H. Curran & Co., Boston, 1880, pp. 109, 110. Digital editing of text by Sarah E. Mitchell.

Web Edition copyright © 2003 Sarah E. Mitchell