- The first ‘first lady’ to witness her husband being sworn into office.
- Dolley went to great lengths to cultivate support for her husband, visiting all congressmen’s families in Washington and inviting them to the President’s House.
- Although she was hesitant to appear actively partisan because of the criticisms that her predecessor, Abigail Adams, received, Dolley Madison was the first ‘first lady’ to formally identify with a specific project, setting a precedent for first ladies to come.
- She helped establish a home for orphaned children in Washington D.C. What was once the ‘Washington City Orphan Asylum,’ is today the ‘Hillcrest Children & Family Center.’
- She instructed Paul Jennings, a 15-year-old slave, to save a portrait of George Washington during a British storming of the Capitol in 1814.