Joseph Ellis, a professor of history at Mount Holyoke since 1972, is considered one of the nation’s foremost scholars of American history. He is the author of several books, including bestsellers American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson, which won the National Book Award (1997); Founding Brothers: the Revolutionary Generation, which received the Pulitzer Prize in history (2000).
Prior to the DNA test, Ellis concluded “that the likelihood of a liaison with Sally Hemings is remote.” When Eugene Foster’s DNA test was published in Nature, Ellis stated DNA testing proved that Thomas Jefferson was the father of Sally’s son, Eston. Ellis then reversed his original position seeing this as ‘new evidence.’
Ellis was later surrounded by controversy when an article was published in the Boston Globe revealing that he had lied about his military service in the Vietnam War. He was suspended from teaching at Mount Holyoke for the 2001/2002 academic year.
Historian Joseph Ellis Falsifies His Past
Conversations on Jefferson and Jeffersonian Politics (2001)
Jefferson Met Hemings in Vietnam
Ann Coulter, Jewish World Review (June 21, 2001)
A Historian’s Embellished Life; Joseph Ellis Took Meticulous Care With Facts — Except His Own Story
Pamela Ferdinand, The Washington Post (June 23, 2001)
Historian Exposed As Fraud
Reed Irvine and Cliff Kincaid (July 10, 2001)