THE PEOPLE OF JEFFERSON'S UNIVERSITY

A great range of people were part of the University of Virginia in its early years, from those such as Jefferson who first envisioned the University, to those such as the laborers who physically constructed it. The academical village - as an intellectual conceit and architectural plan, a physical locale in an area then situated outside of Charlottesville, and an actual lived reality - involved faculty, students, laborers, hotelkeepers, women and children, townspeople, slaves, foreigners, and so on. The themed sections below draw on JUEL records to provide an overview and starting point from which to further explore the documented lives of a particular group of people.

Rendering of a Student, 1853, Detail

STUDENTS. With an inaugural class of sixty-eight, the first day of classes at Jefferson's university began March 7th, 1825. Who were these early students, the first to partake of what Jefferson described as the "quiet retirement, so friendly to study" of his Academical Village? 

 

PROFESSORS. Key to Jefferson's vision for the Academical Village was the housing of professor and student alongside one another in an atmosphere of lively collegiality and enrichment. Explore the lives of the faculty and learn more about their earliest experiences. Click here for the Pavilion Occupants List. Also included is the list of Early Proctors and Patrons.

 

WORKERS. Enslaved individuals were responsible for a significant portion of the construction and maintenance of the University. Click to go directly to an ongoing LIST OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN INDIVIDUALS, enslaved or otherwise, 1819-1870. Click on Fragments to read a selection of primary source accounts of African-American workers and slaves associated with the University of Virginia. SEE ALSO: Owners/Overseers List lists individuals connected to the University of Virginia through the hiring out of slaves and other laborers. 

 

 

COMMUNITY. Student lodging in the academical village was provided by hotelkeepers, whose workers were responsible for the dining, laundry, cleaning, and general upkeep of the students. The proximity of hotels to pavilions kept students, faculty, staff, and servants in close contact with one another; a record of the hotelkeepers can help audiences today detangle the relationships, conflicts, and events of the university's earliest years. Click here for the Hotelkeepers List, which details the individuals who rans the hotels in this time period. NEW: list of Early Tavern/Store Owners.

 

THE LAND. The landscape proves critical in the foundation of the university and in our understanding of the early experience of its participants. The land itself, as well as the buildings, are discussed briefly in an overview of the natural and built landscape of the academical village; please see Visualization for a full, three-dimensional rendering of many buildings of the early campus.