Dolley (Payne) Madison (1768-1849)

Mrs "Dolley" Dandridge (Payne) Todd, Madison; First Lady of the United States

Associated Houses

The Octagon House

Washington D.C.



The White House

Washington D.C.

Cutts-Madison House

Washington D.C.

She was First Lady of the United States between 1809 and 1817, and is credited for having the quickness of mind to save Gilbert Stuart's famous 1796 portrait of George Washington - entrusting it to Jacob Barker - just prior to the British torching the White House in the War of 1812. Her sister, married one of George Washington's nephews, George Steptoe Washington. Dolley was described by Washington Irving as, "a fine, portly, buxom dame, who has a smile and a pleasant word for everybody," and when Henry Clay said, "everybody loves Mrs Madison" she replied cheerfully, "Mrs Madison loves everybody". She had just one son who lost Montpelier.
Contributed by Mark Meredith on 08/10/2018 and last updated on 12/01/2024.