Thursday, August 30, 2012

A "Douglass" in the Jefferson "Family"

It's been a while because it's been a short, busy summer. The book is still moving forward, now with access to more secondary sources. I will be giving a talk on Anna Douglass at Villanova University on September 29, 2012, (that's a Wednesday) at 4 pm, sharing the program with Prof. M. Nzadi Keita, who has written poetry about Anna. Then,  in October, off to Northumbria University for the BrANCH conference where I will give a paper on the Douglass marriage on a panel with the fabulous Angela Murphy, who will be talking about the marriage of Jermain Loguen. More on both as details develop.

Meanwhile, for your amusement, I found this at the Smithsonian Museum of American History in their exhibit on Jefferson's slaves. This is a tree for the enslaved family of Joseph Fossett and Edith Hern, who lived on the Monticello hilltop. Originally, I took this picture because I liked the way that it represented the generations -- much better than the standard tree shape.:

Then, I noticed the grandson there at the bottom of the circle. His name?:

Frederick Douglass Issacs (1851-1904).

As I always joke with my students, all things lead to Frederick Douglass.


  1. Did you figure out the connection?

  2. Hi Annie: I don't think there is any connection beyond Isaac's parents admiring Frederick Douglass. Of course, this might be an interesting story, depending on where they lived, because this naming pattern might show the extent of Douglass's influence at that time.