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Dorothy Payne, Quakeress A Side-Light upon the Career of 'Dolly' Madison   By:

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Dorothy Payne, Quakeress A Side-Light upon the Career of 'Dolly' Madison by Ella Kent Barnard offers readers a captivating journey into the life of a remarkable woman often overshadowed in history. Through meticulous research and compelling storytelling, Barnard sheds light on the often overlooked contributions of Dorothy Payne, popularly known as 'Dolly' Madison, in American political and social spheres during the early 19th century.

Barnard's writing style is engaging, seamlessly molding historical facts with intriguing anecdotes to create a vivid portrayal of Dolly Madison's life. The author seamlessly navigates through Dolly's early upbringing in a Quaker household, emphasizing how her religious background greatly influenced her character and values. This exploration of Dolly's Quaker roots provides readers with a deeper understanding of her unwavering commitment to peace, tolerance, and social justice throughout her life.

One of the book's strengths lies in its extensive research. Barnard delves into a wide range of primary sources, including letters, journals, and newspaper articles, to construct a comprehensive and accurate narrative. By skillfully incorporating these sources, the author offers readers an intimate and authentic glimpse into Dolly Madison's thoughts, emotions, and motivations, allowing us to truly connect with her as a historical figure.

Moreover, Barnard skillfully chronicles Dolly Madison's enduring partnership with her husband, James Madison, the fourth President of the United States. The book explores their love story, highlighting Dolly's instrumental role as a political ally and confidante. The author elucidates how Dolly's intelligence, charm, and fierce determination were pivotal in shaping the early years of the nation and the presidency of James Madison.

In addition to this, the book sheds light on the often uncelebrated contributions of women in early American society. Barnard deftly showcases Dolly Madison's remarkable ability to navigate the complexities of a patriarchal society, using her influence to advance causes she believed in. The author meticulously examines Dolly's contributions in the realm of education, feminism, and social reform, illustrating her as an influential and forward-thinking woman ahead of her time.

Though the book succeeds in presenting a comprehensive portrait of Dolly Madison, some readers may find Barnard's occasional tangents and extensive historical context overwhelming. While these detours provide valuable insights into the wider historical landscape, some might prefer a more streamlined narrative focused solely on Dolly Madison. However, the author's purpose is commendable in ensuring readers fully comprehend the broader context surrounding Dolly's life and achievements.

Despite this minor criticism, Dorothy Payne, Quakeress A Side-Light upon the Career of 'Dolly' Madison by Ella Kent Barnard is an illuminating and highly enjoyable read. By reevaluating the life of a woman who played a significant role in shaping early American society, Barnard successfully rectifies historical oversights and delivers a feminist perspective that is both enlightening and empowering. This book is a valuable addition to any historian's or enthusiast's collection, and a testament to the enduring legacy of a remarkable woman.

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Transcriber's note

Minor punctuation errors have been changed without notice. Printer errors have been changed and are listed at the end. All other inconsistencies are as in the original.

Characters that could not be displayed directly in Latin 1 are transcribed as follows:

Italics ^ superscript


[Illustration: Dorothy Payne Todd.

Courtesy of Miss Lucia B. Cutts.]

Dorothy Payne, Quakeress

A Side Light upon the Career of "Dolly" Madison


Philadelphia: FERRIS & LEACH 29 SOUTH SEVENTH ST. 1909

Dedicated to



There is little time in this busy world of ours for reading, little, indeed, for thinking; and there are already many books; but perhaps these few additional pages relating to Dolly Madison, who was loved and honored during so many years by our people, may be not altogether amiss. During eleven administrations she was the intimate friend of our presidents and their families. What a rare privilege was hers to be at home in the families of Washington, of Jefferson, of Madison, of Monroe; to know intimately Hamilton and Burr and Clay and Webster; to live so close, during her long life, to the heart of our nation; to be swayed by each pulsation of our national life; to be indeed a part and parcel of it all, loved, honored and revered!

It seems almost incredible that the simple country maiden, reared in strict seclusion, by conscientious Quaker parents, should have been transformed into the queen of social life, at whose shrine the wise men of their day did homage, and at whose feet the warriors laid the flag of victory... Continue reading book >>

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