(4) Dolley Payne Todd Madison


Dolley Payne Todd Madison



Death date



James Madison

Dates of service


Relationship to president


Other marriages 

Prior marriage to John Todd



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.