Reference Entry

Randolph, Martha Jefferson

Elizabeth R. Varon

in American National Biography Online

Published in print January 1999 |
Published online February 2000 | e-ISBN: 9780198606697 | DOI:

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Randolph, Martha Jefferson (27 September 1772–10 October 1836), lifelong confidante to her father, was born at “Monticello” in Albemarle County, Virginia, the daughter of Thomas Jefferson and Martha Wayles (Martha Wayles Skelton Jefferson). After the death of her mother in 1782, Martha Jefferson, known to her father in childhood as “Patsy,” became his most trusted and beloved female companion. Throughout her life she moved in a rarified intellectual and social atmosphere. After spending two years in Philadelphia, in 1784 she and her father moved to Paris, where he served as U.S. minister to France. There she continued the formal education she had begun in Philadelphia by attending the elite Abbaye Royale de Panthémont convent school. Her father maintained an avid interest in her education, frequently writing her letters filled with advice and encouragement; “the more you learn the more I love you,” one of his missives averred. During her years in France Martha Jefferson was also introduced to fashionable society, counting as her friends ...

Reference Entry.  859 words. 

Subjects: US Politics ; Social and Cultural History

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