Thomas Jefferson’s Education

Date & Time

October 7, 2017 @ 10:00 - 11:00 am


Newcomb Hall Theater
Charlottesville, VA



In celebration of the University of Virginia’s Bicentennial 2017-19

Pulitzer prize-winning author and University of Virginia historian, Alan Taylor will present an informative talk covering Thomas Jefferson’s experiences as a college student at the College of William & Mary and how this first-hand knowledge informed his plans to create an innovative academic university for Virginia after the American Revolution.

UVA Today Article


Alan Taylor

Thomas Jefferson Foundation Professor, College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, History

Born in Portland, Maine, on June 17, 1955, Alan Taylor attended Colby College, graduating in 1977.  After serving as a researcher for historic preservation in the United States Virgin Islands (1977-79), he pursued graduate study at Brandeis University, receiving his PhD in American History in 1986.  After a postdoctoral fellowship at the Institute of Early American History and Culture (Williamsburg, Virginia), he taught in the history department at Boston University from 1987 to 1994.  Since 1994, he has been a professor at the University of California at Davis, where he teaches courses in early American history, the history of the American West, and the history of Canada.  Starting in August 2014, he has held the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Chair in the Corcoran History Department of the University of Virginia.

He long served as the faculty advisor for the California State Social Science and History Project, which provides curriculum support and professional development for K-12 teachers in history and social studies.  In 2002 he won the University of California at Davis Award for Teaching and Scholarly Achievement and the Phi Beta Kappa, Northern California Association, Teaching Excellence Award.

Taylor has published seven books: Liberty Men and Great Proprietors: The Revolutionary Settlement on the Maine Frontier, 1760-1820 (1990); William Cooper’s Town: Power and Persuasion on the Frontier of the Early Republic, (1995); American Colonies (2001); Writing Early American History (2005); The Divided Ground: Indians, Settlers, and the Northern Borderland of the American Revolution (2006); The Civil War of 1812: American Citizens, British Subjects, Irish Rebels, & Indian Allies (2010); The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia (2013); and American Revolutions: A Continental History (2016).

William Cooper’s Town won the Pulitzer Prize for American history in addition to the Bancroft and Beveridge prizes.  The Internal Enemy won the Pulitzer Prize for American history and the Merle Curti Prize for Social History (OAH).  American Colonies won the 2001 Gold Medal for Non-Fiction from the Commonwealth Club of California.  The Divided Ground won the 2007 Society for Historians of the Early Republic book prize and the 2004-07 Society of the Cincinnati triennial book prize.  The Civil War of 1812 won the Empire State History Prize and was a finalist for the George Washington Prize.

Current Book Project

Thomas Jefferson’s Education:  A social and political history of higher education in Virginia during and after the American Revolution with an emphasis on Jefferson’s colonial alma mater, the College of William and Mary and his republican post-war alternative, the University of Virginia.