Saving Monticello: The Levy Family and Thomas Jefferson's House with Marc Leepson - Context Travel

Saving Monticello: The Levy Family and Thomas Jefferson's House with Marc Leepson


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Join historian and journalist Marc Leepson, the author of Saving Monticello to explore a little-known but important story of historic preservation and Jewish-American history. Learn how the Levy family saved Thomas Jefferson’s home--not once by twice.

This seminar will discuss the history of Thomas Jefferson’s famed Monticello in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Central Virginia, focusing on what happened after the nation’s second president died in 1826. This is the fascinating story of the family that owned Monticello for 89 years, longer than the Jefferson family did, and how they restored, repaired, and preserved it on two occasions.

The conversation will illuminate the life of Uriah Phillips Levy (1792-1862), the first Jewish American to serve a full Navy career and the first Jewish U.S. Navy commodore. Levy, a hero of the War of 1812, served for 50 years until his death during the Civil War. He purchased Monticello in 1834 and repaired, preserved, and restored Jefferson’s home, which was suffering from years of neglect and “in dilapidation and ruin,” as one visitor put it. The conversation also will cover the equally important role played by Uriah Levy’s nephew, Jefferson M. Levy, who owed Monticello from 1879-1923. Jefferson Levy, an extremely successful real estate and stock speculator, saved the house from ruin for a second time after it had gone into severe disrepair following a 17-year legal battle over the terms of Uriah Levy’s will.

Led by an expert on American history, Marc Leepson, this lively seminar will feature many rare, historical images of Monticello, from as early as 1870. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding of the life and work of Thomas Jefferson, American architectural history, and Jewish-American history.

Marc Leepson is the author of nine books, including Saving Monticello; a history of Thomas Jefferson’s “Essay in Architecture;” Flag: An American Biography, Lafayette: Idealist General, a concise biography of the Marquis de Lafayette; and What So Proudly We Hailed, a biography of Francis Scott Key. He taught U.S. History at Lord Fairfax Community College in Warrenton, Virginia, from 2007-2015. A former staff writer at Congressional Quarterly in Washington, D.C., his feature articles, essays, and book reviews have appeared in many magazines and newspapers, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Smithsonian, Publishers Weekly, Preservation, and Civil War Times. He has given scores of talks on his books and been interviewed many times on radio and television, including on The Today Show, CBS This Morning, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, Discovery Channel, The History Channel, History Detectives, All Things Considered, Talk of the Nation, To The Point, Morning Edition, The Diane Rehm Show, The BBC NewsHour, Irish Radio, and CBC (Canada), and has written entries for the Encyclopedia Britannica, Encyclopedia Americana, and the Dictionary of Virginia Biography.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 8 reviews
75%
(6)
13%
(1)
13%
(1)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
S
S.a.D.M.
Learning about Monticello's History

I have been to Monticello twice and I learned a great deal from Marc's commentary - things that I certainly didn't get from either tour (back in the 1960s and 1970s). He was extremely knowledgeable Monticello's history and a very good presenter. This was a wonderful way to spend a Saturday afternoon!

J
J.
Fascinating, little-known history

Marc brought this history to life in a conversational yet authoritative manner. Since he (literally) wrote the book on this subject, he was able to bring many details to the fore. I'm glad he left plenty of time for Q/A to explore individuals' wonderings. Bravo!

T
T.G.
Very interesting presentation.

Really excellent. Speaker was so knowledgeable. Really superb.

B
B.M.
Very interesting and educational.

I had no idea of the history of Monticello or of the Levy family. The presentation was organized, informative and very interesting

D
D.C.

Guest did not leave comment

Customer Reviews

Based on 8 reviews
75%
(6)
13%
(1)
13%
(1)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
S
S.a.D.M.
Learning about Monticello's History

I have been to Monticello twice and I learned a great deal from Marc's commentary - things that I certainly didn't get from either tour (back in the 1960s and 1970s). He was extremely knowledgeable Monticello's history and a very good presenter. This was a wonderful way to spend a Saturday afternoon!

J
J.
Fascinating, little-known history

Marc brought this history to life in a conversational yet authoritative manner. Since he (literally) wrote the book on this subject, he was able to bring many details to the fore. I'm glad he left plenty of time for Q/A to explore individuals' wonderings. Bravo!

T
T.G.
Very interesting presentation.

Really excellent. Speaker was so knowledgeable. Really superb.

B
B.M.
Very interesting and educational.

I had no idea of the history of Monticello or of the Levy family. The presentation was organized, informative and very interesting

D
D.C.

Guest did not leave comment