Inspiring participation in public affairs
in the spirit of Thomas Jefferson’s life, thought, and ideals.


 “I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.” 
—Thomas Jefferson

Who does the JLF seek to serve with its programs and initiatives?

  • Students: K-12, college, graduate, life-long learners
  • Teachers, scholars, and historians
  • Civic organizations
  • Historical societies and their members

Recent activities include the following (please also see our Educational Outreach programs):

  • Jefferson & Adams — The JLF has served as co-producer of Howard Ginsberg's three-character stage play Jefferson & Adams, the story of the turbulent 50-year friendship between Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and his wife, Abigail. The play focuses on both the intersections and divergences in their lives and beliefs until the year of their deaths.  The story is constructed from the voluminous correspondence between these two statesmen, which discusses the events that shaped the new nation and the world as well as revealing the serious political disagreements that almost destroyed their friendship. Excerpts from the letters are woven into a compelling script, full of rich, poignant, and prophetic language indicative of the characters' keen intellect, strong convictions, dedication to their country, and devotion to their wives and families.  Our productions of  Jefferson & Adams, which include venues in Colonial Williamsburg and Middlebury, Vermont consistently plays to sold-out audiences, receiving standing ovations. Now available on DVD. To order call 1-800-414-6291 or go to
  • The Thomas Jefferson Lady — The JLF brings one-of-a-kind presentations by LuAnn Ose (a.k.a, "The Thomas Jefferson Lady") to schools, libraries, and senior centers.  Ms. Ose rivets her audiences with her "storybag" filled with unique and often amusing items.  Audience members are invited to "pick but not peek" from the bag, with each item prompting a story from Thomas Jefferson's life and times.  In less than an hour, she relates fascinating stories about the Bill of Rights, the Constitution, the separation of powers, the University of Virginia, the 40 years it took to build Monticello, and Jefferson's views on slavery (to name just a few). Ms. Ose captivates audiences of all ages.
  • The Lewis and Clark Expedition — The JLF is circulating 15 color posters created by Monticello's Education Department to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Lewis & Clark Expedition (1803-1806). Monticello involved top scholars and teachers across America in the creation of the posters for use by upper-elementary school students in studying different aspects of Lewis and Clark's historic trek across North America as well as Thomas Jefferson's role in initiating this great adventure. The JLF has mounted the posters for durability and ease of display and are offering them — free of charge — to teachers on a rotational basis around Vermont to help make this exciting time in American history come alive for their students. We have also created numerous supporting materials for teachers including our own Lewis & Clark Jeopardy game, fun facts, word finds, and more.
  • Broadsides —  The JLF has published a set of three Broadsides representing Thomas Jefferson's "triple faith" in self-government, religious freedom, and education. Jefferson intended these documents to serve as instruments by which people live in free society. The JLF is making these documents available as part of our educational outreach efforts. The Broadsides are: The Declaration of American Independence 1776; the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom 1777; and Goals for Public Education 1778 / 1818.  Available in 19x25 inch poster size, suitable for mounting or framing, these Broadsides serve as discussion pieces for educators and unique additions to personal, library, or other collections.
  • An Evening Conversation at Monticello — The JLF has regularly been a sponsor of an "Evening Conversation" at Monticello annually. Since 1993, Monticello has hosted a series of "Evening Conversations" in which a social hour and tour of the house and grounds is followed by a special guest who speaks on a topic related to Thomas Jefferson, followed by a question-and-answer period and reception.  The theme of our 2001 "Conversation" was a fascinating talk on "Thomas Jefferson and James Madison," with James Morton Smith as guest speaker. The 2002 "Conversation," which we co-sponsored with the Miller Foundation, featured Ted Koppel and the 2003 "Evening Conversation," featured Newsweek's Evan Thomas, speaking on "Thomas Jefferson and John Paul Jones."
  • Community Garden — Inspired by Jefferson's lifelong passion for farming and gardening, the JLF developed an outreach program to promote and sustain local school and community garden activities in Ripton, Vermont. The seasonal afterschool program and 10-week summer program have been running successfully since 1999.
  • Birthday Party — The JLF hosts an annual celebration of Thomas Jefferson's birthday for local school children and their parents and teachers at the Ripton Community House in Vermont.  Tables with imaginative hands-on activities focus on many of Jefferson's interests, including architecture, agriculture, the arts, and the Lewis & Clark expedition.  A book raffle, colonial games, a huge birthday cake, a lively rendition of "Happy Birthday," a puppet show, and presentations by The Thomas Jefferson Lady highlight the festivities.  Children actively participate in democracy as they recite a kid-friendly version of the Vermont Freeman's Oath, then cast their vote in a mock election.
  • Man of the Millennium — The JLF produced a multimedia web site presentation for Colonial Williamsburg, Thomas Jefferson:  Man of the Millennium. Colonial Williamsburg commissioned the presentation as part of its special web site presentation that offered a "Birthday Present to the Nation" during the month of July 2000 and then requested that Man of the Millennium remain on its site indefinitely as part of its educational program. This fascinating and educational website presentation has been used by teachers and students in secondary and higher education institutions.  CD-ROM versions are also available for viewing when not connected to the internet.
  • Northern Journey of Jefferson and Madison — The JLF created an exhibit,1791: Thomas Jefferson and James Madison in Vermont and Jefferson's Role in Vermont Statehood.  With narrative historical background and context, the exhibit on the Northern Journey also contains color facsimiles of journals, letters, and state documents as well as prints, paintings, maps, and other images.  This well-received exhibit has been seen by thousands of visitors to the State House in Montpelier, Vermont; the Henry Sheldon Museum of Vermont History in Middlebury, Vermont; Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vermont; the Berkshire School in Sheffield, Massachusetts; and thanks to a grant from the Vermont Humanities Council, Chimney Point State Historic Site in Addison, Vermont and The Old Constitution House in Windsor, Vermont. In addition, the JLF brought Thomas Jefferson (as portrayed by Colonial Williamsburg's Bill Barker) and James Madison (John Douglas Hall) in full costume to the Vermont State House for a public forum and interviews with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and best-selling co-author of Flags of Our Fathers, Ron Powers.  The interviews were filmed by John Harrington of MadisonFilm, Inc., Alexandria VA.
  • Publication of Monograph — The JLF's monograph, DISCOURSE, provides a thought-provoking look at "The Election of 1800: Context and Implications for A Rising Nation. . ." Articles include "The New Republic of the 1790s: Prelude to Revolution," "The World in 1800," and "Jefferson as President: A Bibliographic Essay." 
  • Vermont History Expo — The JLF has participated in the Vermont History Expo, held at the Tunbridge Fair Grounds where thousands of people come to experience the richness of Vermont's history in one central location.  We have created special exhibits to educate participants about Thomas Jefferson and James Madison's trip to Vermont and New York in 1791. For the Children's Heritage Tent at the History Expo, we commissioned The Traveling Storyteller to create and present a puppet show about Thomas Jefferson's life; the puppet show is also available to local schools and libraries as part of our educational outreach efforts. We brought Colonial Williamsburg's Bill Barker to the Expo to do a live interpretation of Jefferson and his journey to Vermont in 1791.  In 2003, we will featured a presentation on the Vermont Town Meeting System, which Jefferson called "the wisest invention ever devised ... for the exercise and preservation of self-government."
  • Passport to Vermont History — On behalf of the JLF, research consultant Heidi Hutchins Stokes helped to create a Passport to Vermont History for the Vermont Historical Society.  Designed to look like a passport in convenient pocket size, this indispensable pamphlet for those interested in Vermont history lists the state's 175 historical societies with addresses and contact information.
  • Jefferson Bibliography — With Monticello, the University of Virginia, and University of Rochester Professor (and JLF Board member) Frank Shuffelton, the JLF collaborated on an Internet web site listing more than 5,000 titles from Shuffelton's Thomas Jefferson: A Comprehensive Bibliography of Writings About Him.  The site can be viewed at
  • Other JLF activities include JLF Chairman Chip Stokes serving as a consultant on Ken Burns's PBS documentary, Jefferson: the assembling of a comprehensive chronology of Jefferson's life with notable world events for each of Jefferson's 83 years (1743-1826); the commissioning of a screenplay about Thomas Jefferson and the American Revolution; participation in and coordination of the Council for America's First Freedom award ceremonies annually since 1996; a collaboration with Monticello and the University Press of Virginia to republish a unique and important contribution to Jeffersonian literature, Merrill D. Peterson's classic, The Jefferson Image in the American Mind; ongoing presentations, lectures, interviews, etc., for local media, schools, and other community organizations regarding Jefferson's legacy; and numerous working relationships with local, regional, and national organizations.

Contact us for more information.

The Jefferson Legacy Foundation
Town Office Building, P.O. Box 76
Ripton, Vermont 05766
Phone 802-388-7676 Fax: 802-388-1776

Portrait of Thomas Jefferson by Jamie Wyeth.
 Used with permission of the artist. Copyright © Jamie Wyeth