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Manuscript Division



Women's Suffrage
Health and Medicine
Papers of Presidents and First Ladies
arrow graphicDolley Madison, Lucretia Garfield, and Edith Wilson
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Actresses and Actors




Dolley Madison, Lucretia Garfield, and Edith Wilson
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Mrs. James Madison, (Dolley Payne), from an original picture by Gilbert Stuart. [between 1804 and 1855]. Prints and Photographs Division. LC-USZ62-68175.
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The papers of Dolley Madison (1768-1849) [catalog record] were among the first materials acquired by the division when they were transferred to the Library from the Smithsonian Institution in 1866, seventeen years after her death. As the young widow of John Todd Jr., Dolley married James Madison in 1794, and from 1801 to 1809 she acted as White House hostess for fellow Virginian Thomas Jefferson while her husband served as the president's secretary of state. From 1809 to 1817, she was first lady during her husband's presidency. She was noted for her friendliness and charm, and her papers (1,700 items; 1794-1852; bulk 1836-49), most of which date after her husband's death, reflect her warm personal relationships and the use of her influential position to assist others. Notable are the letters she exchanged with her son John Payne Todd, nieces Anna Causten and Rebecca Todd, and nephews Richard D. Cutts and Samuel P. Todd. Additional materials relating to her may be found in the papers of James Madison (12,000 items; 1723-1859; bulk 1771-1836) [catalog record], William C. Rives (50,400 items; 1674-1939; bulk 1830-90) [catalog record], and others.

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Lucretia Garfield with thirteen of her sixteen grandchildren at Lawnfield. Edmond & Son. 1906. Manuscript Division. LC-MS-21949-6.

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The first lady with the largest collection in the Manuscript Division is Lucretia Rudolph Garfield (1832-1918) [catalog record], wife of James A. Garfield, who was elected president in 1880 and was assassinated less than a year later by a disgruntled job seeker. Her collection (55,000 items; 1807-1958) pertains to her husband's assassination, their children, and her interests in art, literature, civic and political affairs, women's rights, genealogy, and the publication of her husband's papers and biography. Of particular significance is her correspondence with her children and their families, some of which is included in the separately maintained papers of her sons Harry Augustus Garfield (60,000 items; 1888-1934) [catalog record] and James Rudolph Garfield (70,000 items; 1879-1950; bulk 1890-1932) [catalog record]. Lucretia also appears in her husband's papers [catalog record], which include not only family diaries and the president's correspondence with his mother and daughter, but also his professional correspondence with Susan B. Anthony, Almeda A. Booth, Lucy Stone, and Frances Willard.

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Woodrow Wilson and wife riding to second inauguration in backseat of a convertible, March 4th, 1917. Prints and Photographs Division. LC-USZ62-22737.
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Edith Bolling Galt Wilson (1872-1961) [catalog record], the second wife of President Woodrow Wilson, is represented by a large collection (19,000 items; 1833-1961), most of which dates after her husband's death in 1924. Drafts of Edith's memoirs are noteworthy, as is her correspondence with political leaders, including other twentieth-century first ladies and feminist Carrie Chapman Catt. An additional ten thousand items relating to Edith may be found in her husband's papers, including documents from her White House years. The Woodrow Wilson Papers (278,700 items; 1786-1957) [catalog record] are also a rich source of information about Ellen Axson Wilson (1860-1914), the president's first wife who died after only seventeen months in the White House. Besides materials relating to his wives, Wilson's papers are rich in documents concerning the women's suffrage campaign and passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, protective labor legislation, Progressive reform, and women's involvement in World War I and the pacifist movement.

The papers of journalist and Woodrow Wilson biographer Ray Stannard Baker (30,000 items; 1836-1947; bulk 1907-44) [catalog record] contain transcripts of letters Wilson wrote to his first wife and copies and originals of the president's correspondence with Jane Addams, Mabel T. Boardman, Carrie Chapman Catt, Ida M. Tarbell, and others. Additional Wilson family materials may be found in the papers of Senator William Gibbs McAdoo (250,000 items; 1786-1941) [catalog record], who married the president's daughter Eleanor Wilson McAdoo (1889-1967), and in a small collection of Wilson-McAdoo Family papers (1,093 items; 1860-1966; bulk 1912-43) [catalog record], which consists chiefly of the papers of Margaret Woodrow Wilson (1886-1944) and Eleanor Wilson McAdoo. These papers include information on Margaret's brief singing career, her promotion of schools as community centers, and her experiences in India as a follower of Hindu mystic Sri Aurobindo Ghose.

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