In honor of President’s Day today I thought it would be appropriate to highlight a FLOTUS that you may not know much about. You see, when I was in middle school we did a program where we portrayed historical figures. We studied all about our chosen characters and then portrayed them in at a school play. I studied and portrayed Dolley Madison. She was very intriguing to me and I wanted to share a little of her background with you in honor of today’s holiday.
Dolley Madison was married to the fourth president of the United States, James Madison. She was first lady from 1809-1817. Some people may not realize that she was actually a widow when she married Madison. Her first husband and one of her sons died from contracting yellow fever. She happened to move down the street from then US Representative James Madison. The rest is history.
Dolley Madison is known for her rosy cheeks, her love of French couture and also her fun parties. She reportedly liked to wear decolletge gowns and satin turbans. Dolley was quite the hostess in the White House. She was the first FLOTUS to serve ice cream in the White House. She also enjoyed cake and macaroons for dessert. She served nuts and little candies with poems that she had written tucked into the plate. Dolley also enjoyed, much like Bubbly Horse, serving fine champagne.
According to historian Patricia B. Mitchell, Dolley had been cautioned by her husband to limit her champagne intake. He’s quoted as saying, ” If you drink too much of it, it will make you hop like the cork”. She always tried to limit herself to two glasses of champagne (she did a better job than I do!).
The great statesmen Henry Clay is quoted as saying, ” Everybody loves Mrs. Madison!” and Dolley responded, “Because Mrs. Madison loves everybody!”. Even after she left the White House and her husband became secretary of state in 1801 she continued to serve as the female co-host to then widower President Thomas Jefferson.
Dolley Madison is credited for saving the portrait of George Washington that hangs in the White House by saving it from certain destruction from British troops during the War of 1812. I hope you enjoyed learning a little about the fun-loving Dolley Madison. xoxox
Thanks to The History Channel and Patricia B. Mitchell for history and photo.