Readers ages 16 and older are invited to join Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage for a monthly virtual book club! Grab a snack and your favorite beverage and then log into Zoom for an hour-long meet-up with fellow readers. Discuss that month’s selection, ask questions and get to know that book on a deeper level. Meetings will happen the first Tuesday of the month.
Books will be chosen quarterly and will include historical and modern works in both fiction and nonfiction. This is a fun way to engage with fellow readers worldwide, all while remaining socially distant. We look forward to diving in with you!
December: Christmas Under Three Flags: Being Memories of Christmas in the White House with Old Hickory by Mary Emily Donelson Wilcox
Andrew Jackson’s niece, Mary Emily Donelson Wilcox shares her reminiscences of a special Christmas spent at the White House in 1836 as well as other Christmases spent in Mexico and Prussia. The book is available through online retailers. A free audiobook version is accessible through librivox.org.
January 4, 2022: The Odyssey by Homer.
Homer’s ancient epic of the Trojan War has remained a popular work of literature, inspiring everything from spin-off stories to film adaptations and stage plays. Its primary characters, Odysseus and Penelope (plus her suitors), are synonymous with fidelity in love. Artistic representations of this story are found in almost every period of European decorative and fine arts, from teacups to wallpaper. A 19th-century French adaptation of The Odyssey titled The Adventures of Telemachus inspired the Joseph DuFour Company of Paris to render the story in wallpaper, which Rachel Jackson purchased to complete the decoration of The Hermitage mansion. Inexpensive copies are available from booksellers or free at your public library. Free audiobook version is available through librivox.org.
February 1, 2022: On to the Alamo: Colonel Crockett’s Exploits and Adventures in Texas by Richard Penn Smith.
This account of the Battle of the Alamo in 1836 is largely a work of fiction. It was taken as truth at the time of its publication and claims to be an eyewitness account of the legendary battle and established many of the legends we still associate with David “Davy” Crockett. We will also examine the only actual eyewitness accounts of the battle, those by Susanna Dickinson and Joe, an enslaved man owned by William Travis, one of the Alamo’s defenders. Inexpensive copies are available from booksellers and from Google Books. No audiobook is available.
March 1, 2022: Women in the Life of Andrew Jackson by Ludwig Deppisch, MD.
Dr. Deppisch, a pathologist, has long had an interest in the medical history of our presidents and first ladies. That interest spurred a wider interest in Andrew Jackson who, arguably, is one of our most complex presidents. This volume explores Jackson’s life in the context of the women who dominated his inner circle: mother Elizabeth Jackson, wife Rachel Jackson, daughter-in-law Sarah Jackson, niece and White House hostess Emily Donelson, Washington socialite Margaret “Peggy” Eaton and niece Mary Eastin Polk. The author will join us for this conversation as a special event! Books available on Kindle and through major booksellers. It can be purchased from The Hermitage Museum Store. No audiobook is yet available.