Billy L. Wayson, Ph.D.
Dr. Billy Wayson holds a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia, studied Economics at George Washington University, and at the University of Iowa earned a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy (magna cum laude) and election to Phi Beta Kappa. His research interests are cultural, social, economic, and political history from mid-eighteenth century to the late antebellum period with specific curiosity for the subjects of family, gender, household, and community.
As the recipient of two fellowships at the International Center for Jefferson Studies and his book manuscript, Martha Jefferson Randolph: Republican Daughter and Plantation Mistress (Shortwood Press, 2013), he was the first to address the unique relationship between Jefferson, his daughter, and their images of family and culture. A newly found manuscript on Jefferson’s reading list for instructing his daughter is described in the context of her father’s pedagogical theories and practices in “Considerably Different for Her Sex”, which appears in Libraries, Leadership and Legacy of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson (Fulcrum Publishing and Massachusetts Historical Society, 2010). His essay, “Jefferson and Affairs of the Heart” interprets the Founder’s relationships with women through the lens of his favorite author Laurence Sterne and is included in a collected volume (Frank Cogliano, ed., Wiley Blackwell, 2011). Using computer analysis methodologies not practiced in the history profession, his extensive research has resulted in a deep knowledge, categorization, and accessibility of the correspondence of Thomas Jefferson.
He served as adjunct faculty at the Federal Executive Institute (1987-2009), presenting courses and lectures on Thomas Jefferson, executive leadership, managing organizational change, ethical foundations of public service, and the long shadow cast by slavery on contemporary public policies in the fields of education, healthcare, and criminal justice. A long-standing organizational consulting practice involved working with governmental agencies in over thirty-five states. As founder and president of a private, policy research institute, Dr. Wayson oversaw the writing and publication of over two dozen research monographs and co-authored two books on public policy and criminal justice. During his tenure as Special Assistant to the Director of the U. S. Bureau of Prisons, he oversaw initiatives related to creating the National Institute of Corrections, designing management accountability systems, long-range planning, and financial management.
Dr. Wayson co-owns and operates GraceSpring Farm that was among the first in the United States to introduce progressive New Zealand pastoral technologies into America’s dairy industry. It was designated by the U. S. Government as a demonstration site for sustainable agricultural practices and hosted over 600 visitors in 1994-96. The farm was awarded the Virginia Governor’s Clean Water Farm Award and Chesapeake Bay Clean Water Award and has been recognized frequently for its use of “best practices.”
His community service has included terms on both the School Board and governing body of Louisa County; president, Virginia Forage and Grassland Council; president of a national volunteer organization, Offender Aid and Restoration, USA, and contributions to local historical societies/entities.
Dr. Wayson is deeply engaged in a long-term project to examine Thomas Jefferson’s financial affairs in the context of political, social, and cultural forces affecting economic activities and agricultural technology at the turn of the nineteenth century. The Founder’s accounts are being transcribed into an electronic accounting format for ease of analysis and for correlation with over 1,500 letters collected by late 2012 on the topic of finances. The first paper in this project, “ ‘Solid, Substantial and Patriotic’: That Business of William Short and Thomas Jefferson”, was presented in March 2011 at the Virginia Forum, Washington and Lee University; in May at the International Center for Jefferson Studies; and as part of a panel on C-Span in the summer of 2011 (Jefferson’s Financial Management).