Current Events & Trends | August 2010 |
In the current issue of Drew Magazine (of Drew University in Madison, NJ), editor Renee Olson brings to light a document buried deep in the university's archives, a document I had the pleasure of holding in my hands when I worked on the Drew Library's Gibbons collection back in 2004 and 2005. Her article, "Paper Cuts," describes a racist caricature and poem about Sally Hemings that Thomas Gibbons owned. Gibbons, a wealthy Southern planter, mayor, and steamboat magnate, was notoriously anti-Jeffersonian. The drawing is titled "Mrs. Sally Jefferson." The artist/poet can only be guessed at, and until recently, the document itself was unknown to all but a few Drew librarians and researchers. When Olson spoke to Annette Gordon-Reed, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Hemingses: An American Family, she was told that only two other representations of Hemings are known.