“At Home with the Virginia Presidents” is an engaging armchair travel and history talk about the eight Virginia-born presidents and the sites that shaped their lives. We will travel the state--from Staunton to Charles City and Wytheville to Winchester--to (virtually) visit the homes and historic sites of the Virginia presidents. Attendees will learn a bit about the presidents’ lives, take a peek inside their homes and get ideas for their next history road trip.
ABOUT THE BOOK
What do George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler and Zachary Taylor have in common? They were all born in Virginia–-making the Old Dominion the birthplace of more United States Presidents than any other state in the Union.
Among these eight Virginians were those who established a new nation, drafted our founding documents, fought in numerous battles, led the country through wars and created an international peacekeeping organization. But these men also used their power to force Native Americans off their land, perpetuate the institution of slavery in new states and territories, and prevent women from obtaining the right to vote.
Across the Commonwealth of Virginia and beyond are more than two dozen presidential homes, museums and historic sites that tell the stories of the eight Virginia-born Presidents. While some were originally founded to enshrine the memory of our Founding Fathers, most presidential homes and museums no longer uncritically celebrate their lives. Instead, many of these sites have expanded their interpretation to include a more complicated and nuanced story about our Presidents and include the stories of the other men, women and children–-enslaved and free–-who supported them in their political, military and civilian careers.
Virginia’s Presidents: A History and Guide (The History Press, 2023) tells the stories of the Virginia Presidents and the historic sites that interpret their lives. It includes profiles of each of the eight Presidents and descriptions of the museums, historic sites and presidential homes in Virginia and surrounding states that tell their stories and, by extension, the story of our nation.
ABOUT HEATHER S. COLE
Heather S. Cole is a public historian and writer living in Staunton, Virginia. She has worked in a variety of museum and archives, including as an interpreter for the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum in Staunton. She currently works as an archivist for the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Charlottesville, and does freelance work organizing and digitizing family and corporate archives. This is her third book for The History Press.