A new episode of the Madison presidency series is now available!
July 3, 2022

4.081 - Dolley Madison Part One

4.081 - Dolley Madison Part One

Year(s) Discussed: 1768-1809

Born in a Southern log cabin, the woman who would go on to be the center of social life in the nation's capital developed her skills of charm and entertainment through formative years filled with uncertainty, turmoil, and tragedy. Join me as I explore the early life of Dolley Payne Todd Madison up to her husband's election as the fourth President of the United States. Sources used for this episode can be found at https://www.presidenciespodcast.com.


Special thanks to Kevin, Karen, and Alex for providing the intro quotes for this episode and to Alex Van Rose for his audio editing work!

The transcript for this episode can be found here.

  • Adams, John. “To Abigail Adams, 27 Feb 1796.” Adams Papers Digital Edition. Massachusetts Historical Society. https://www.masshist.org/publications/adams-papers/index.php/view/ADMS-04-11-02-0095#sn=0. [Last Accessed: 29 May 2022]
  • Allgor, Catherine. A Perfect Union: Dolley Madison and the Creation of the American Nation. New York: Henry Holt & Co, 2006.
  • Bigler, Philip. Scandalous Son: The Elusive Search for Dolley Madison’s Son, John Payne Todd. Quicksburg, VA: Apple Ridge Publishers, 2015.
  • Brown, Stephen W. Voice of the New West: John G. Jackson, His Life and Times. Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 1985.
  • Ketcham, Ralph. James Madison: A Biography. Charlottesville, VA and London: University Press of Virginia, 1994 [1971].
  • Landry, Jerry. The Presidencies of the United States. 2017-2022. https://www.presidenciespodcast.com.
  • Mattern, David B, and Holly C Shulman, eds. The Selected Letters of Dolley Payne Madison. Charlottesville, VA and London: University of Virginia Press, 2003.
  • Miller, Richard G. Philadelphia, The Federalist City: A Study of Urban Politics, 1789-1801. Port Washington, NY and London: Kennikat Press, 1976.
  • Mitchill, Samuel L. “Dr. Mitchill’s Letters from Washington, 1801-1813.” Harper’s New Monthly Magazine. 58:347 [April 1879], 740-755.
  • Moore, Virginia. The Madisons: A Biography. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1979.
  • Scofield, Merry Ellen. “Dolley Madison and the Making of a Capital Etiquette.” Southern First Ladies: Culture and Place in White House History. Katherine A S Sibley, ed. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2020. pp. 35-51.

Featured Images:

  • "Mrs. James Madison" [c. 1805-1810], courtesy of Wikipedia
  • "Portrait of Mrs. Richard Cutts" by Gilbert Stuart [c. 1804], courtesy of Wikipedia
  • "Sketch of Dolley Madison" [c. 1800], courtesy of Wikipedia
  • "Congress Hall and New Theatre, in Chestnut Street Philadelphia" by W. Birch & Son [c. 1800], courtesy of Wikipedia

Intro and Outro Music: Selections from “Jefferson and Liberty” as performed by The Itinerant Band