“There is one secret, and that is the power we all have in forming our own destinies.”
First Ladies of the US Dolley Madison Full Image

Dolley Madison

Dolley Payne Todd Madison
Years of service: 1809-1817
Born: 1768

First Ladies of the US Dolley Madison Full Image

Dolley Madison initiated Washington society’s “parlor politics” scene – a previously untapped female-led soft power system. Dolley learned the skill of bringing differing and bickering politicians together within the White House as a hostess for Thomas Jefferson, and she finessed soothing political differences during her husband’s administration. Her most famous act was demanding the removal of George Washington’s portrait from falling into British hands during the War of 1812. After the death of her husband, the acute debts acquired by her son forced her to sell the Madison plantation, Montpelier, and all the enslaved families. Poverty-stricken “Queen Dolley” later returned to the capital as a beloved Washington matriarch.


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Leaders in Literacy

4/30/2024 through 4/30/2025

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First Ladies as Teachers, Educators, and Librarians.

The right to an education is a foundational principle of America’s history, and many First Ladies have taken up this cause. We celebrate National First Ladies Day by kicking off this featured exhibit, presented by Huntington Bank.