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07.01.10 Thomas Jefferson, a biography by Dumas Malone is 6 volumes, (overall title: Jefferson and His Times) published 1948-1981.

Notes Concerning the Author.

Dumas Malone (1892 – 1986) was a Southern historian, biographer, and editor noted for his six-volume biography on Thomas Jefferson, published under the overall title, Jefferson and His Time, beginning in 1948 and concluding in 1981.  For this work he received the 1975 Pulitzer Prize for history.  Born at Coldwater, Mississippi, Malone received his bachelor’s degree in 1910 from Emory College in Atlanta and, in 1916, he received his divinity degree from Yale University.  After serving two years in World War I, he returned to Yale and obtained his Master’s (1921) and his doctorate (1923).  After completing his education Malone served on the faculty of Yale, Columbia University and, most importantly at the University of Virginia, where he served as the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Professor of History.

See our commentary on Jefferson Davis and his works at 20.00.01.


Thomas Jefferson, Virginian, needs no introduction, but an overview might be helpful.

Thomas Jefferson (1743 – 1826) was a Virginian, a Founding Father of the American Republic, the principal author of the Declaration of Independence (1776) and the third President of the United States, serving two terms (1801–1809).  He was a spokesman for democracy and the rights of man with worldwide influence.  At the beginning of the Revolution, he represented Virginia in the Continental Congress and then served as a wartime Governor of Virginia (1779–1781).  Just after the war ended, from mid-1784 Jefferson served as a diplomat, stationed in Paris. In May 1785, he became the United States Minister to France.

Jefferson was Secretary of State (1790–1793) in the Administration of President George Washington, also a Virginian.  He and fellow Virginian James Madison organized the Democratic-Republican Party (which would eventually evolve into Andrew Jackson’s Democratic Party).  Elected President in 1800, Jefferson oversaw the purchase of the vast Louisiana Territory from France (1803), and sent the Lewis and Clark Expedition (1804–1806) to explore the new west, reaching all the way to the Pacific Ocean.

Dumas Malone’s 6 volumes cover this amazing story of Thomas Jefferson in great detail, placing him in the times in which he lived and led those newly evolving United States and their territories to the west.  The six volumes carry the following titles:

  • Jefferson the Virginian (1948)
  • Jefferson and the Rights of Man (1951)
  • Jefferson and the Ordeal of Liberty (1962)
  • Jefferson the President: First Term, 1801-1805 (1970)
  • Jefferson the President: Second Term, 1805-1809 (1974)
  • The Sage of Monticello (1981).

Side Bar

You have perhaps heard about the sexual scandal allegedly concerning Thomas Jefferson’s African American house servant, Sally Hemmings.  There is ample reason to suspect this allegation is untrue and intended to humiliate leading Virginians and Jefferson, and to detract from their and his accomplishments.  For a truthful investigation of these allegations, see The Jefferson-Hemmings Controversy, Robert F. Turner, editor, and Anatomy of a Scandal by Rebecca and James F. McMurry.  

Availability of these Volumes

Reprints are available as print books and there are digital versions as well.  People needing a condensed encounter with this great Virginian and American leader might look elsewhere, but for the best account available, go to Dumas Malone.

Commentary of Thomas Jefferson and His Works

For our commentary of Jefferson and his works go to: