Skip to comments.Dolley Madison Risked Her Life for a Portrait of Washington—With a Typo
Posted on 07/31/2014 10:19:20 AM PDT by afraidfortherepublic
Youve seen it: the iconic portrait of the first President, one hand clutching a sword, the other arm outstretched over an ornate table that is artfully mussed. Below this table are a few books: General Orders, American Revolution, and The Constitution and Laws of the United Sates.
You read that right: The country is identified as the United Sates, not the United States.
This masterpiece hangs in the East Room, the luxurious White House salon that holds social events and ceremonies, where the President hosts dignitaries from other countries and honors Americans for their contributions to society. And yet, the countrys name is misspelled.
But that misspelling isn't an accident.
Two hundred years ago last week, the British set fire to America's fledgling capital during the second year of the War of 1812. Dolley Madison, the first lady at the time, refused to be rushed" in evacuating the White House, says Anthony Pitch, a tour guide with Washington, D.C. Sightseeing who spoke Tuesday at a White House Historical Association lecture.
She insisted on staying to save the $800 portrait of Washington, Pitch said. Some historical accounts claim the first lady ordered workers to save that picture!
What Madison didnt know was that the portrait was actually a copy of the original created by artist Gilbert Stuart in 1797. The misspelling of "United Sates" was done on purpose: That's what proves it's a copy.
The original, called the "Lansdowne Portrait," was named for the Marquise of Lansdowne, who, ironically, was the former British prime minister and the first owner of the portrait. The painting of the celebrity president was wildly popular, so Stuart painted several reproductions, one of which was bought by the U.S. government. Misspelling "the United States" was Stuart's way of differentiating...
(Excerpt) Read more at theatlantic.com ...
Well, more of a “painto” then a “typo” - unless the picture was created with a typewriter, of course.
(Not to be confused with the confection maker-)
I learn something every day. Dolly also served occasionally as First Lady when Thomas Jefferson was president.
Wiki has her, and members of her family spelling it as “Dolly.”
Didn’t Dolly Madison make some great cakes many years ago that could be bought at a convenience store?
Typewriters weren’t invented until the 1860s and this was on a painting. It’s a spelling error not a type.
The first American selfie —
Tell The Atlantic! (I agree)
In the past, biographers and others stated that her given name was Dorothea after her aunt, or Dorothy, and that Dolly was a nickname. But her birth was registered with the New Garden Friends Meeting as Dolley, and her will of 1841 states "I, Dolly P. Madison". Based on manuscript evidence and the scholarship of recent biographers, Dollie, spelled with an "i", appears to have been her given name at birth. As spelling was more variable in those years, historians have settled on using "Dolley" as the spelling of her given name. On the other hand, the print press, especially newspapers, tended to spell it "Dolly". This included many of the newspapers of her day: for example, in the Hallowell (Maine) Gazette, 8 February 1815, p. 4, it refers to how the congress had allowed "Madame Dolly Madison" an allowance of $14,000 to purchase new furniture; and the New Bedford (MA) of 3 March 1837, p. 2 referred to a number of important papers from her late husband, and said that "Mrs. Dolly Madison" would be paid by the Senate for these historical manuscripts. Several magazines of that time also used the "Dolly" spelling, such as The Knickerbocker, February 1837, p. 165. it should also be noted that many popular magazines of the 1860s-1890s preferred the "Dolly" spelling, and also noted that she was often called "Mistress Dolly," including in an essay from Munsey's Magazine in 1896. It is also worth noting that Lucia Beverly Cutts, her grand-niece, in her "Memoirs and letters of Dolly Madison: wife of James Madison, president of the United States" (1896) uses "Dolly" consistently throughout, a usage which reflects her direct personal knowledge of the name as known to Mrs. Madison herself and the members of her family.
Did not know this. Thanks for posting.
Reading *is* Fundamental ;-)
Resurrecting an old tagline...
White House burned by British troops