Bruce Ragsdale Profile Photo

Bruce Ragsdale

Author and Independent Scholar

Bruce Ragsdale is the author of Washington at the Plow: The Founding Farmer and the Question of Slavery (2021). He was a fellow at the Washington Library and the International Center for Jefferson Studies, and he was Mount Vernon’s inaugural fellow with the Georgian Papers Programme. Ragsdale formerly served as the director of the Federal Judicial History Office at the Federal Judicial Center. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Virginia.

Episode 6: Leaving

Dec. 13, 2021

Episode 6: “Leaving” Nancy Carter Quander was just a child when George Washington died in December 1799, but his death changed her life forever. Washington’s decision to emancipate his enslaved people in his will had consequ…

Episode 3: Revolutions

Nov. 22, 2021

Episode 3: “Revolutions” William Lee was George Washington’s trusted enslaved valet. For over two decades, he attended Washington from early morning until nightfall. In times of peace and war, Lee rode with Washington throug…

Episode 2: Laboring

Nov. 15, 2021

Episode 2: “Laboring” As an overseer, Davy Gray was entrusted by George Washington with the management of the enslaved laborers on Dogue Run Farm. His weekly reports to Washington revealed progress toward Washington’s goal o…