What You Didn’t Know About Dolley Madison

By | November 30, 2018

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Dolley Madison, wife of US president James Madison rescues a portrait of George Washington from the White House before the British troops set fire to the building during the War of 1812. A print by A Bubbett. (Photo by M PI/Getty Images)

The wife of James Madison, the fourth president of the United States, Dolley Madison did much more than stand at her husband’s side as history was being made. She was an active participant in it. Spunky, loyal, and gracious, Dolley Madison helped to define the role of the First Lady as the hostess of America, but she also got her hands dirty. As we see here, there was more to Dolley Madison than meets the eye. 

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Dolley was Just a Nickname

Although history remembers her as Dolley, that was her childhood nickname. She was born Dorothea Payne in May of 1768 in North Carolina. The daughter of Quakers plantation owners, Dolley's father freed his slaves after the Revolutionary War.