Bill Barker, who impersonated Thomas Jefferson at Colonial Williamsburg for 26 years, has moved to Charlottesville and taken on the role of Jefferson at Monticello.
While growing up in the Philadelphia area, Bill became interested in Thomas Jefferson and his role in American history. He continued his study of Jefferson when he was in college, and he also did some acting. When a teacher told Bill he looked just like Thomas Jefferson and suggested that he apply for a job portraying him at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Bill found his calling. He auditioned, got the job and has been impersonating or “interpreting” Thomas Jefferson ever since.
In 1993, Bill left Philadelphia to become Thomas Jefferson at Colonial Williamsburg. As he aged, his job changed too. He became the “older” Jefferson, while another actor took on the role of the “younger” Jefferson.
Now, Thomas Jefferson as portrayed by Bill Barker has come home to Monticello, exactly like the real Thomas Jefferson did in 1809, after he finished his 2nd term as President.
Bill recently wrote a book about his adventures as Thomas Jefferson. It’s titled Becoming Jefferson: Life as a Founding Father. You can purchase a copy at Monticello’s magnificent gift shop. Mr. Jefferson himself would be pleased to inscribe it for you.
Even if you don’t buy a book, you can still chat with the author, and have your photograph taken with him!