Thursday, March 6, 2008

Everything you wanted to Know about Dolley Madison but were Afraid to Ask

From an actual conversation with my fourth grader:

Hey Mom. Can you name the two wives of Thomas Jefferson?

Um, I think he only had the one wife. (Long pause) Mrs. Jefferson.(1)

No, he was also married to Dolley Madison.

Hmmm. I'm pretty sure that Dolley Madison was married to (another long pause) President Madison. The one they named the University after. James Madison. Him.

Nope. When Jefferson's first wife died he married Dolley Madison. My friend Ally read it on Wikipedia.

Like the old saying goes: If your friend Ally reads it on Wikipedia, it must be true.

Now no offense to Wikipedia fans (2) but the writing on that site drives me fucking bat shit. For example, still using the entry about Dolley:

Her father was John Payne, a not-too-successful farmer
and erstwhile starch manufacturer


Erstwhile? Really? That's the adjective you want to use? And then there's this:

Sadly Dolley died in her home in Washington D.C.,
July 12, 1849 at the age of 81.


Not to sound callous or anything, but personally, I miss what's so sad. Nobody wants to die but did the author really expect her to live to be 240?

Another popular Dolley Madison myth I can now dispel: She was not actually the inventor of the zinger, although she was apparently the muse.


The face that inspired the raspberry twinkie knock-off


1) Being a huge fan of the musical 1776, I was pretty sure her name Martha but I thought this conversation was headed toward Sally Hemings so I was distracted.
2) Hi Lee!

1 comment:

Lee said...

Hi, Amy! I'm here.