James Madison, class of 1771, was forty-three years old when he asked Aaron Burr, whom he had known at Princeton, to introduce him to the attractive young widow, Dolley Payne Todd. They were married that same year; it was Dolley’s second marriage. Seven years later when Madison was appointed secretary of state they moved to Washington where Mrs. Madison frequently acted as hostess for the widowed President Jefferson. After her husband’s death, Congress voted her the franking privilege and a seat on the floor of the House, an honor which had never before been granted to a woman.
This miniature painting by Elizabeth (Milligan) Gulick (1813-1893) was painted on ivory in 1844. The image is 3 5/8 x 2 7/8 inches and was presented to the Library in 1924 by the Class of 1884, which purchased it from Joseph H. Gulick, a member of the class. The Library also owns an autograph collection formerly belonging to Mrs. Gulick, in which where are two letters from Dolley Madison to the artist dated 1844. Although they do not specifically mention this painting, Mrs. Madison praises the artist’s work and recommends her for another commission.
For more information, see Princeton Portraits by Donald Drew Egbert, p. 333-35. Firestone Oversize N6505 .E28q