Academic journal article The Virginia Quarterly Review

Strength and Honor: The Life of Dolley Madison

Academic journal article The Virginia Quarterly Review

Strength and Honor: The Life of Dolley Madison

Article excerpt

Strength and Honor: The Life of Dolley Madison, by Richard N. Côté. Corinthian Books, January 2005. $29.95

This biography is a testament to both the assiduous scholarship of the author and the research and archiving accomplishments of the University of Virginia's James Madison Project. Through the University, Côté had access to some two thousand letters, both to and from Dolley Madison-material not previously available to many authors who have written about this most memorable of America's First Ladies. These letters have enabled Côté to present a detailed and intimate portrait of Dolley Payne Todd Madison's private life and personal relationships. Much has been written about Dolley's public life as the supportive wife of America's fourth president, and of her public image as an exceptional hostess, fashion-setting socialite, and heroine of the War of 1812. Now, Côté integrates the private and public aspects of Dolley's life into an engaging portrayal of a highly intelligent and adaptive woman whose capability for achievement was founded not on her marriage to James Madison, Jr. …

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