The First Presidential Wife to Be Called the First Lady

Dali's the wife of the 4th President

James Madison like Jackie Kennedy

she loves French fashion and she knows

the importance of appearances Dolly's a

widow in her mid-20s when she first

meets the wealthy James Madison he's 17

years older she's three inches taller

he's the father of the Constitution

she's the mother of a two-year-old but

something about dolly catches the great

statesman's eye she was a personality

and she was one of those irresistible


Madison probably never looked at another

woman he's a little wisdom guy and he

went nuts over her absolutely crazy over

her they marry in 1794 and three years

later Madison takes dolly and her son to

live in Montpelier his family plantation

in Virginia while slaves pick Wheaton

tobacco dolly homes the social skills

which will serve her well as first lady

dolly and James Madison were really the

first American power couple but they

were very much aware of what they were

doing as a political entity we're in the

room where Dolly Madison did what she

was known for she entertained people and

she wasn't just someone who knew how to

throw a good party she was also very

much aware of how interior design and

style could communicate ideas so on the

mantle over here there's a bust of

Athena side-by-side with one of the

first published versions of the

Declaration of Independence so that's

making a very conscious connection

between the American project and


in 1809 James Madison replaces Thomas

Jefferson as president and dolly can

practice her social skills on the

biggest stage of all in the White House

Dolly Madison began to have these

receptions it would bring everybody in

under the same roof she had great food

and she had whiskey punch which was not

served among nice people in those days

but she did and they loved doggy so

called squeezes serve an important

political function at a time when Party

rivalries can end in bloodshed dolly

uses her charm to bring opposing sides

together and to help her husband

I think Dolly Madison has amazing

political instincts she holds these

wonderful salons where people can put

aside the adversarial roles that they

have to play in the floor of Congress

and can meet and talk and compromise she

would walk the rooms you know going from

person to person learning valuable

information that she would share with

her husband it was just so perfectly

done some say the title first lady is

used for the first time in the eulogy at

Dolly's funeral she set the style for

the New Republic