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Bill Barker's Favorite Websites

Here are some of my favorite website links that I hope you enjoy as much as I do:

Colonial Williamsburg

More than 200 years ago, the pursuit of equality, freedom and indepedence began a movement that continues to shape the world. Welcome to the Revolutionary City, and the experience that is Williamsburg!

Mr. Jefferson's Home, Monticello

Thomas Jefferson called Monticello his "essay in architecture." Reflecting the genius and versatility of its creator, Jefferson's Monticello is a monument to a scrupulous interest in architecture, landscaping, agriculture, and domestic comforts. The remarkable house, one of America's most famous, is filled with ingenious devices and mementos of this revered founding father.

Mr. Jefferson's Retreat at Poplar Forest

Poplar Forest was an important part of Jefferson’s life – a private retreat, situated far from the public scrutiny and demands on his time. It was his most personal architectural creation and landscape, a place where he came to find rest and leisure, to rekindle his creativity, and to enjoy private time with his family.

Mr. Jefferson's University of Virginia

For Jefferson, the college experience should take place within an "academical village," a place where shared learning infused daily life. With this philosophy in mind, he created the University of Virginia, one of the most prestigious public universities today. The University of Virginia was the first American university to have a library (in the Rotunda) as the focal point of the school as opposed to a chapel.

The Jacob Graff House

In June of 1776, Thomas Jefferson was part of a Virginia delegation that planned to ask the Second Continental Congress to sever its ties from Great Britain. While that historic body was meeting, Jefferson was assigned to a committee that was asked to write a declaration which enumerated the causes that led to that severance.Finding his lodging in the heart of the city uncomfortable, Jefferson performed his writing in the rooms of Jacob Graff. Graff was a well-known bricklayer who had built his house on the outskirts of town but a year before Jefferson arrived.

Independence Hall

Independence Hall is, by every estimate, the birthplace of the United States. It was within its walls that the Declaration of Independence was adopted. It was here that the Constitution of the United States was debated, drafted and signed.

American Philosophical Society

Benjamin Franklin inspired this scholarly society which was founded in 1743. Many founders of the republic were members: George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Paine, Benjamin Rush, James Madison, and John Marshall; as were many distinguished foreigners: Lafayette, von Steuben, Kosciusko.Jefferson, and other members of the Society, instructed Lewis and Clark concerning the scientific, linguistic, and anthropological aspects of their impending exploration of the Louisiana Territory.

City Tavern of Philadelphia

Visitors to the original tavern included Washington, Jefferson, Franklin and Adams. Jefferson and Adams both enjoyed the fare of this tavern. When John Adams arrived in Philadelphia in August of 1774, to attend the First Continental Congress, he was greeted by leading citizens and immediately taken to the tavern he would call "the most genteel tavern in America."

Maison Carrée

The Maison Carrée at Nîmes in southern France, is one of the best preserved temples to be found anywhere in the territory of the former Roman Empire. Thomas Jefferson prepared plans for the Virginia capitol in Richmond based on the famous building Maison Carrée in Nîmes, France, with the assistance of French architect and antiquarian Charles-Louis Clérisseau. The Virginia capitol was the first public building in the United States designed in the neoclassical style.

Professor William Small

Of Professor William Small, Mr. Jefferson said: “It was my great good fortune, and what probably fixed the destinies of my life that Dr. Wm. Small of Scotland was then professor of Mathematics, a man profound in most of the useful branches of science, with a happy talent of communication, correct and gentlemanly manners & an enlarged & liberal mind. He, most happily for me, became soon attached to me & made me his daily companion when not engaged in the school; and from his conversation I got my first views of the expansion of science & of the system of things in which we are placed.”

George Wythe

Wythe served as mayor of Williamsburg, Virginia from 1768 to 1769. In 1779 he was appointed to the newly created Chair of Law at William and Mary, becoming the first law professor in the United States. Wythe's pupils at William and Mary included Thomas Jefferson, Henry Clay, James Monroe, and John Marshall. Jefferson once described Wythe as a "second father."

John Locke

John Locke (August 29, 1632 – October 28, 1704) was an English philosopher. Locke is considered the first of the British Empiricists, but is equally important to social contract theory. Jefferson openly acknowledged his debt to Locke in drafting the Declaration of Independence.

Francis Bacon

Francis Bacon, 1st Viscount St Alban (22 January 1561 – 9 April 1626) was an English philosopher, statesman, and essayist, but is best known as a philosophical advocate and defender of the scientific revolution. Jefferson admired Bacon as one of the leading intellects upon which he drew inspiration.

Sir Isaac Newton

Sir Isaac Newton (4 January 1643 – 31 March 1728) was an English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, and alchemist. His treatise Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica, published in 1687, described universal gravitation and the three laws of motion. Newton was considered by Jefferson to be one of his trilogy of great minds - Locke, Bacon and Newton - whom he called thr "three greatest men the world had ever produced".

Andrea Palladio

Andrea Palladio (November 30, 1508 – August 19, 1580) was an Italian architect, widely considered the most influential person in the history of Western architecture. Jefferson was a self-taught architect who owned a number of books by Palladio. Over time Jefferson acquired an intense appreciation of Palladio's architectural theories based on their connection to ancient Rome.

Tristram Shandy

Laurence Sterne's great comic novel, Tristram Shandy, was originally published between 1759 and 1767 in nine small separate volumes. Thomas Jefferson and his wife Martha enjoyed reading this novel together. Later, Jefferson would cite from this book in his personal correspondence, including in a letter to Maria Cosway.

Maria Cosway

Maria Cosway (1760-1838), the Anglo-Italian painter and musician who entered Jefferson’s social circle during his tenure as U.S. Minister to France. Cosway and Jefferson corresponded intermittently over the years, with letters coming first from Cosway. At her home in Lodi, Cosway possessed a portrait of Jefferson by John Trumbull that is now at the White House, presented by the Italian government on the occasion of the 1976 Bicentennial. An engraving of Maria Cosway is on display in Monticello’s family sitting room.


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