The Creation of the First Lady

Holly Shulman—editor of the Dolley Madison Digital Edition and coeditor of the forthcoming People of the Founding Era—took part in James Madison University’s presidential inauguration festivities by delivering a new lecture, “Dolley Madison and the Creation of the First Lady.” Shulman, who is also coeditor of The Selected Letters of Dolley Payne Madison, explained that Dolley was hardly immune to criticism—few first ladies are—but that she persevered to become a great stabilizing force for her husband and for his White House. She also played an enormous role in shaping our idea of what a first lady should be.