Thomas Jefferson Signed Letter as President Sending a Dinner Invitation to the Madisons
Founding father and third President of the United States, THOMAS JEFFERSON, exceptionally scarce letter signed as President addressed to Dolley Madison, James Madison's wife. The letter is dated June 5th, 1801, Jefferson was only sworn in 3 months prior and had not even finished assembling his cabinet. Jefferson suggests inviting "Mrs Brown's family to dine tomorrow if it would be convenient to Mrs Madison and Miss Payne".
"Mrs. Brown" was Margaretta Mason Brown the wife of Kentucky Senator John Brown. With only 32 total seats in the Senate in 1801, John Brown was a faithful and important ally for Jefferson voting to approve important legislation like the funding of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. With Jefferson, the Madison's, and the Brown family present one can only imagine what was discussed at the dinner table that night.
Upon entering the White House Thomas Jefferson had been widowed for 20 years. Dolley Madison assisted the widowed Jefferson as hostess at official events, and served as a sort of surrogate first lady. She attended Senate debates and sparred with the British minister's wife, defending Jefferson's relaxed notions of etiquette. She frequently asked husband James Madison for the latest news on the country's international relations, suspended White House entertainments during the Barbary Wars, and supported the Lewis and Clark expedition by heading a campaign to gather necessary supplies. The "Miss Payne" Jefferson refers to was Dolley's sister who also assisted with hosting events. An exceptionally rare piece of correspondence and a fascinating glimpse into the pioneering of the role of First Lady preformed by Dolley Madison for Thomas Jefferson.
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Full transcript reads:
[signed] Thomas Jefferson proposes to ask Mrs. Brown's family to dine tomorrow if it would be convenient to Mrs. Madison & Miss Payne to meet them he presen
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