Thomas Jefferson’s polygraph to be revealed

SOUTHWEST HARBOR — Charles Frederick Morrill, avid polygraph enthusiast and Monticello guide, will tell the story of Thomas Jefferson’s No. 57 Polygraph and what he has discovered from studying it, when he speaks at the Southwest Harbor Public Library on Saturday, Jan. 7, from 2-3:30 p.m.

The program will be an afternoon of travel, narrow escape, tragedy, humor and even some drama. Along the way, you will find out which side of what was called the “copy machine” Jefferson wrote with, meet the man who built, owned and first modified it, and also meet the enslaved museum attendant who made it all possible. Morrill will talk about how the No. 57 polygraph appears to have left its signature on the great majority of Jefferson’s correspondence from 1808-1822, how we know that, and how historians have found a new way to identify many of No. 57’s copies from Jefferson’s originals.

Charles Frederick Morrill examines Thomas Jefferson’s ring sundial. PHOTO COURTESY OF MICHAEL STOWERS

Morrill, who earned a bachelor’s degree from UCLA, has been an architectural millworker (woodworker) for 25 years, home shop machinist and former Mount Washington Railway Company steam locomotive engineer. He has worked for the curatorial department at Monticello as an exhibition fabricator and is reproducing some of Jefferson’s scientific instruments and gadgets, using the original designs whenever possible, for tours at Monticello for families and their children.

Morrill is the son of Charles Barrett Morrill, past library board member, who oversaw the new Southwest Harbor library addition in 2000, and Charlotte R. Morrill, curator of the library’s digital archive.

Call the library at 244-7065.

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