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Best of the National Book Festival: Annette Gordon-Reed, 2015

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Welcome to our ongoing celebration of the Library of Congress National Book Festival. Each weekday, we will feature a video presentation from among the thousands of authors who have appeared at the National Book Festival and as part of our new year-long series, National Book Festival Presents. Mondays will feature topical nonfiction; Tuesday: poetry or literary fiction; Wednesday: history, biography, memoir; Thursday: popular fiction; and Friday: authors who write for children and teens. Please enjoy, and make sure to explore our full National Book Festival video collection!

The third president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, is often referred to as the spiritual founder of the Library of Congress. His personal library, which he sold to Congress in 1815, formed the seed of today’s national library. Paradoxically, the man who wrote that “all men are created equal” was also a slave holder. One of those slaves was Sally Hemings, with whom he fathered at least six children.

Mark Dimunation, chief of the Library’s Rare Book and Special Collections Division, introduces presidential scholar Annette Gordon-Reed, who came to the Special Programs stage of the 2015 Library of Congress National Book Festival to discuss her critically hailed “The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family.” Q&A begins at 36:25.

The 2020 Library of Congress National Book Festival, which is free for everyone, will be held on Saturday, Aug. 29. You can get up-to-the-minute news, schedule updates and other important festival information by subscribing to this blog. The festival is made possible by the generosity of sponsors. You too can support the festival by making a gift now.