Published by Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2015
Martha Jefferson is the first and only biography of Thomas Jefferson’s greatest love and true kindred spirit, who died an untimely death at the young age of 33 in 1782. Drawing on a wealth of newly probed sources, including family letters, documents, and the handwritten notes left by Jefferson’s famed biographer, Dumas Malone, William Hyland captures the charm, sophistication, grace and a profound sense of history of this little known and elusive figure who, until now, has been a mere footnote to the story of America’s founding.
Hyland brings us a conflicted and honest Martha Jefferson, who endured the Revolution as valiantly as some men, defending her very doorstep from raiding British troops, and presided over the domestic life of their “little mountain,” Monticello, during Thomas Jefferson’s long absences and historic rise to power. A revealing and insightful look at an oft-overlooked American woman, this book provides a unique and previously unexplored understanding of America’s Revolutionary Era, and the men (and women) upon whose bravery, talent, and resolve our nation was founded
Very little has been known about Martha Wayles Jefferson. Bill Hyland has changed that by successfully combining what was known with what had been forgotten or overlooked and then placing her with the people she knew and the places she visited. A heart-warming story that is enlightening and easy to read. -White McKenzie Wallenborn, M.D., Former President of the Thomas Jefferson Heritage Society
Martha Jefferson was the most important person in Thomas Jefferson's life. Bill Hyland's insightful portrait tells us how this little understood fact acquired a tragic dimension. Thomas Fleming, author of The Intimate Lives of the Founding Fathers
It's hard to imagine a non-fiction book that combines a passionate romance with political intrigue, and even wartime panic, but Bill Hyland has accomplished this task. His Martha Jefferson is a meticulous and insightful account of the central person in Thomas Jefferson's life, an extraordinary woman whom history has largely ignored. She, and their relationship, are now in the spotlight, finally. -Arthur T. Downey, The Creole Affair: The Slave Rebellion that Led the U.S. and Great Britain to the Brink of War
Mrs. Thomas Jefferson, beloved wife and steadfast partner in the revolutionary years of America's founding visionary, at long last brought fully and convincingly to life. I commend the work. It may be perhaps the best way to bring the Jefferson and Women imaginings back to reality. -Eric S. Peterson, Editor, Light and Liberty: Reflections on the Pursuit of Happiness
William G. Hyland Jr., a professor of law at Stetson University and practicing attorney, is the author of In Defense of Thomas Jefferson: The Sally Hemings Sex Scandal, and Long Journey with Mr. Jefferson: The Life of Dumas Malone.