Dolley Madison

Dolley Madison

by Jeannette Covert Nolan
Publisher: Julian Messner
©1958, Item: 93432
Library Rebind, 192 pages
Used Price: $18.00 (1 in stock) Condition Policy

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Of all our presidents' wives, Dolley Madison was the most beautiful, a legend in her own time. Her charm, tact and grace captivated Washington, and her fame as a hostess was international. But beneath her surface glamor were depths of character and courage that inspired the great men of Colonial America.

Dolley was born on a Virginia farm in a strict Quaker household. She was in her teens when they moved to Philadelphia, where she was introduced to John Todd, a young lawyer. They had a quiet, happy marriage till, suddenly, yellow fever swept the city, killing her husband and youngest child. But Dolley had the resilience of youth and gradually she emerged from her grief. When she met James Madison she was deeply impressed. He was a distinguished lawyer, father of the Constitution, and his Bill of Rights was the keystone of American democracy. Dolley gave up the Quaker religion to marry him.

Thus began the glittering years. As mistress of the vast estate of Montpelier, Dolley was noted for her lavish hospitality and gracious living. When her husband became Secretary of State, the Madisons moved to Washington where Dolley reigned as President Jefferson's official hostess, since he was a widower. In 1809 James Madison became President. Dolley's reaction was far from frivolous, for she realized that his position was thankless and did all she could to ease his burdens.

Even after Madison's death, the social life of Washington centered around Dolley, "First Lady always." Her one big failure was her son Payne; over-indulged and forgiven for every misconduct, he was jailed for debt and nearly brought her to financial ruin.

In Dolley Madison's story, as romantic as fiction, Jeannette Nolan has given us another of her excellent portraits of a woman who played a significant part in the development of America.

—from the dust jacket

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