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Center for Women's History

Women’s history is American history. Bring it into your classroom with our new curriculum!

Major support for the Center for Women's History curriculum was provided by 

 

 

Lead support for Saving Washington was provided by Joyce B. Cowin and the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation. Additional support provided by Susan Klein.

 


 

Exhibitions at New-York Historical are made possible by Dr. Agnes Hsu-Tang and Oscar Tang, the Saunders Trust for American History, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

 

 

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Dolley Madison
Celebrated during her life for her wartime bravery and personal appeal, today the wife of the nation’s fourth president is recognized for her astute understanding of politics, and for her role in shaping a political culture in the capital city.

Downloadable Resources
Life Story and Discussion Questions
Full-Page Images

Joseph Wood, Dolley (Payne) Todd Madison, 1817. Oil on canvas. Virginia Historical Society, 1967.14.

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James Madison
The primary framer of the U.S. Constitution, Madison wrote many of the Federalist Papers, and drafted the Bill of Rights, a paradox for a Virginia slave owner. He broke with Federalists, served as Thomas Jefferson’s secretary of state (1801–08) and was president (1809–17) during the War of 1812.

Downloadable Resources
Life Story and Discussion Questions
Full-Page Images

Asher Brown Durand, James Madison, 1835. Oil on canvas. New-York Historical Society, Gift of The New-York Gallery of the Fine Arts, 1858.10.

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Margaret Bayard Smith
A Washington insider, she was an important writer of letters, articles, and private journals about life in the capital city, and the biographer of her friend Dolley Madison.

Downloadable Resources
Life Story and Discussion Questions
Full-Page Images

Charles Bird King, Margaret Bayard Smith, ca. 1829. Oil on canvas. Redwood Library and Athenaeum, Newport, Rhode Island, Gift of the artist.

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Sukey
Born to slavery on James Madison’s Virginia plantation, she served Dolley for some forty years, and may have aided her enslaved daughter’s attempted escape aboard the abolitionist-sponsored Pearl.

Downloadable Resources
Life Story and Discussion Questions
Full-Page Images

Baroness Anne-Marguerite-Henriette Hyde de Neuville, Martha Church, Cook in “Ordinary Costume,” ca. 1807-1814, Watercolor, graphite, and brown ink on paper. New-York Historical Society, 1953.276.

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Eliza Brock
A young white servant during Philadelphia’s yellow fever epidemic in 1793, she tended the dying John Todd, Dolley Madison’s first father-in-law. Later married to a well-off farmer, she faced financial and personal turmoil as a widow, and wrote to Dolley asking for help in 1844, unaware that Dolley was herself facing severe financial difficulties.

Downloadable Resources
Life Story and Discussion Questions
Full-Page Images

William Russell Birch, View in Third Street, from Spruce Street, Philadelphia, 1800. Hand-colored engraving. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, D.C., 2002718881.

Creative: Tronvig Group