Madison, Dolley

Madison, Dolley,

1768–1849, wife of President James Madison, b. Guilford co., N.C. Born Dolley Payne of Quaker parents, she was brought up in simplicity and was married (1790) to a Quaker, John Todd, who died in the yellow fever epidemic of 1793. She left the Friends to marry Madison in 1794. In later years as official White House hostess for President Jefferson (who was a widower) and for her husband, both in the White House and at MontpelierMontpelier,
estate, central Va., near Charlottesville; formerly the home of President James Madison. The brick mansion was built c.1760 by Madison's father. Altered and enlarged by later owners, it has been restored (completed 2008) to its appearance when Madison lived there.
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, she was noted for the magnificence of her entertaining as well as for charm, tact, and grace.


See her memoirs and letters (1886, repr. 1971); biographies by E. S. Arnett (1972) and C. Allgor (2006).

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Madison, Dolley (b. Payne Todd)

(1768–1849) First Lady; born in New Garden, N.C. After her first husband died, she married James Madison in 1794. Extremely popular as first lady, she was a great asset to Madison's political career. In 1814 she saved many state papers and a portrait of George Washington from the advancing British soldiers. In later life she retained a place in Washington society and was granted a lifelong seat on the floor of the House of Representatives.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.