(4) Dolley Payne Todd Madison

 

Dolley Payne Todd Madison

Birthdate

05/20/1768

Death date

07/12/1849

President

James Madison

Dates of service

03/04/1809-03/04/1817

Relationship to president

Spouse

Other marriages 

Prior marriage to John Todd

 

Websites

First Ladies National Library Biography of Dolley Madison

White House Historical Association: Dolley Madison

The White House: Dolley Payne Todd Madison

Papers/letters collections

Library of Congress: Dolley Madison Papers

National Archives: Selected Letters of Dolley Madison

Historical sites

Dolley Madison Birthplace

Dolley Madison Gravesite

Fascinating details

  • 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.