(Newark, N.J., – Rutgers University History Professor Annette Gordon-Reed has won a third prestigious award, the $50,000 George Washington Book Prize, for her landmark work, The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family (W. W. Norton, 2008). The prize is awarded annually for the “most important book on
Gordon-Reed received the prize on May 28, the same day that she received her Pulitzer Prize in history for The Hemingses of Monticello.
The Washington Book Prize, which was presented during ceremonies at Mount Vernon, George Washington’s home, is co-sponsored by Washington College, the Gilder Lehrman Institute for American History and George Washington's'Mount Vernon.
Annette Gordon-Reed, photo by Jerry Bauer
“Once again Annette Gordon-Reed has brought honor and distinction to
Gordon-Reed ‘s The Hemingses of Monticello was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in history in April, and the National Book Award for non-fiction in the fall of 2008, achieving what the May 29 Washington Post described as “a literary Triple Crown.” The work focuses on the Hemings family, beginning with Sally’s mother and ending with
The $50,000 award is the largest prize nationwide for a book on early American history, and one of the largest literary prizes of any kind. It recognizes the year's best books on the nation's founding era, especially those that have the potential to advance broad public understanding of American history. "Deeply researched and beautifully written, this magnificent book recenters our whole idea of the founding era and of race in American history," said James G. Basker, president of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, which funds the award.
In addition to her post at
Although Sally Hemings is best known for her intimate relationship with Thomas Jefferson, and as the mother of seven of his children, The Hemingses of Monticello, says Gordon-Reed, is about far more than a relationship between the Hemings family and Jefferson. In her words, it is “a window into the world of slavery, an illumination of our past, a past that brought us to where we are today.”
Gordon-Reed is currently at work on a second volume of history of the Hemings family, extending the story to the 20thcentury descendants who have played a vigorous role in gaining official recognition as relatives of Thomas Jefferson; and on a biography of
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