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Theodosia Burr: Teen Eyewitness to the Founding of the New Nation

Lerner/Twenty-First Century. Feb. 2020. 104p. Tr $37.32. ISBN 9781541542754.
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Gr 7-10–Most students have heard of Aaron Burr, but his daughter Theodosia may be lesser known. As the child of a prominent family, Theodosia Burr was educated, articulate, and busy. Primarily through letters, researchers have pieced together a life of service that was equal parts quiet and outspoken. Her father invested in his daughter’s studies by providing mentorship, tutors, and lessons on how to host state dinners and pick a suitable partner. This biography is short and direct. Burr’s story sets the stage for details about the excitement of the birth of the nation. Quinones chronologically details Burr’s relationships, particularly with her parents, as well as her role as a literary salon host and her experience visiting the South Carolina plantation of her future husband, Joseph Alston. Burr’s life was cut short by tragic circumstances that are still disputed. In 1812, she boarded a ship from South Carolina to return home to New York. The ship “disappeared.” Some suspect that it was sunk by a storm, but others thought pirates raided the ship and killed those on board. Burr’s body was never found.
VERDICT This formidable but brief biography is a useful purchase for school libraries and an additional purchase for public ones. Readers wanting to dig deeper after seeing Hamilton will benefit from a read.

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