Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) was many things: planter, philosopher, politician, author of the Declaration of Independence, founder of the University of Virginia, and third president of the United States.
He was also a lover of the humanities who wrote to his colleague James Madison: "I am an enthusiast on the subject of the arts. But it is an enthusiasm of which I am not ashamed, as its object is to improve the taste of my countrymen, to increase their reputation, to reconcile to them the respect of the world, and procure them its praise."
Jefferson - portrayed by actor Patrick Lee - discusses the importance of the humanities in challenging times (both economic and political) as part of the Library's popular Meet the Past series on Thursday, September 20, 2012, at 6:30 p.m. in the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St.
Conducting the interview is Library Director Crosby Kemper III. The program will be taped by KCPT for later broadcast.
The presentation is co-presented by the Missouri Humanities Council.
As a product of the Enlightenment, Jefferson believed that a citizenry familiar with the humanities had a positive impact on the viability of a democratic society.
His love of the arts was everywhere in evidence in his home at Monticello, Virginia. In addition to one of the largest private libraries in the United States, Jefferson collected paintings, drawings, etchings, and sculptures.
He took particular pleasure in music, which he called "the passion of my soul" and "an enjoyment, the deprivation of which cannot be calculated." He was a talented violinist with a great love of Hayden and French and Italian opera. Violin, chamber, and keyboard music formed a major part of his extensive music library.
Patrick Lee is a professional speaker, actor, and author. His many articles about the Lewis and Clark Expedition have been published by the Missouri Society of Professional Surveyors and the Wisconsin Society of Land Surveyors and collected in the book Mosquitoes, Gnats & Prickly Pear Cactus: The Lewis & Clark Review.
Admission is free. RSVP online or call 816.701.3407. A 6 p.m. reception precedes the program.
Major funding for this season of Meet the Past has been provided by the Courtney S. Turner Charitable Trust, Ken and Cindy McClain, and the J. B. Reynolds Foundation.