August 24, 2013 - On August 24, 1814, First Lady Dolley Madison fled the President’s House as British troops advanced upon Washington, DC in the War of 1812. Before departing, Dolley made sure that Madison’s important papers and a few pieces of silver were secured, as well as one of our great national treasures—Gilbert Stuart’s portrait of George Washington.
July 2, 2013 - Two small paintings with a mysterious past are now on display in the Joe and Marge Grills Gallery at James Madison’s Montpelier. Our extensive research project, the Presidential Detective Story, have put together the clues to unpack “The Case of the List and the Landscapes.”
July 31, 2013 - This past month has resulted in some exciting finds at the site of the quarter for field slaves. After almost a year of excavating the site to find evidence for structures, we have finally identified two features that provide clues to the location for the homes of the field slaves that worked Madison’s farm in the early 19th century.
April 9, 2013 - In 1961, a 33-year-old real-estate developer surveyed an expanse of land adjacent to Washington, DC, languishing in neglect and thriving only in its junkyards and cheap motels. I imagine this place being where criminologists came up with broken windows theory. But Robert H. Smith looked at this area and he did not see failure—he saw opportunity.
When Dolley Madison’s good friend, the author Margaret Bayard Smith, visited Montpelier in 1809, Dolley asked Margaret why she hadn’t brought her children to visit, too. Margaret said she feared inconveniencing the Madisons, to which Dolley responded with a laugh, “I should not have known they were here, among all the rest, for at this moment we have only three and twenty in the house.”