James Madison papers

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Collection Data

Description
James Madison (1751-1836) was one of the key contributors in the drafting of the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights and the fourth President of the United States. The James Madison papers, dated 1773-1847, primarily consist of correspondence and documents either written by or sent James Madison. Topics of the correspondence include the American Revolution, war intelligence reports, foreign relations, political events, slavery, and domestic and family affairs. Other documents include checks, contracts, an annotated address, and a note of Madison's accounts with James Monroe. Letters to and from Madison's family, the bulk of which were addressed to Dolley Madison, are also included. The bulk of these pertain to domestic and social affairs.
Names
Madison, James, 1751-1836 (Contributor)
Adams, John, 1735-1826 (Contributor)
Beckley, John James, 1757-1807 (Contributor)
Clay, Henry, 1777-1852 (Contributor)
Coles, Edward, 1786-1868 (Contributor)
Dohrman, Arnold Henry, 1749-1813 (Contributor)
Featherstonhaugh, George William, 1780-1866 (Contributor)
Fraser, Donald, 1755?-1820 (Contributor)
Jay, John, 1745-1829 (Contributor)
Jones, William, 1760-1831 (Contributor)
Latrobe, Benjamin Henry, 1764-1820 (Contributor)
Madison, Ambrose, 1755-1793 (Contributor)
Madison, Dolley, 1768-1849 (Contributor)
Preston, Francis, 1765-1835 (Contributor)
Todd, John Payne, 1792-1858 (Contributor)
Dates / Origin
Date Created: 1773 - 1847
Library locations
Manuscripts and Archives Division
Shelf locator: MssCol 1833
Topics
Diplomatic and consular service, American
Espionage, American
Statesmen
Presidents -- United States
United States -- Foreign relations
United States -- History -- Revolution, 1775-1783
United States -- History -- War of 1812
United States -- Politics and government -- 1783-1865
United States -- Social life and customs -- 1783-1865
Virginia -- Politics and government -- 1775-1865
Madison, James, 1751-1836
Hassler, F. R. (Ferdinand Rudolph), 1770-1843
Dorchester, Guy Carleton, Baron, 1724-1808
Monroe, James, 1758-1831
Pendleton, Edmund, 1721-1803
United States. Navy
Slavery -- United States
Genres
Correspondence
Documents
Notes
Biographical/historical: James Madison (1751-1836) was one of the key contributors in the drafting of the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights. He co-authored The Federalist Papers along with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay. He held several political offices including House Representative from Virginia from 1789-1797 and Secretary of State under President Thomas Jefferson. Madison was elected the fourth President of the United States in 1808. He was elected to a second term in 1812. Later in life, Madison served as the President of the University of Virginia.
Content: The James Madison papers, dated 1773-1847, primarily consist of correspondence and documents either written by or sent to James Madison. It is a synthetic collection which combines various gifts and purchases from multiple sources. Topics of the correspondence include the American Revolution, war intelligence reports, foreign relations, political events, slavery, and domestic and family affairs. Other documents include checks, contracts, an annotated address, and a note of Madison's accounts with James Monroe. Letters to and from Madison's family, the bulk of which were addressed to Dolley Madison, pertain chiefly to domestic and social affairs. Madison's correspondents include many notable citizens and political figures of the time including John Adams, Henry Clay, Noah Webster, Charles Pinckney, Samuel Morse, Caesar A. Rodney, and George William Featherstonehaugh. Subjects cover the range of Madison's activities as a statesman. Items of note include intelligence reports for Edmund Pendleton during the Revolutionary War and correspondence documenting the United States' relationship with England and France during his tenure as Secretary of State. His presidential correspondence pertains to the lead up to the War of 1812, nominations for political offices, appointments to his cabinet, and requests for favors from friends and political supporters. Also included is correspondence with his brother, Ambrose Madison, his nephews, and other family members. These letters, particularly those exchanged with with his nephews, are personal in nature and pertain more to domestic life. The anonymous letters, some signed with pseudonyms, mainly question Madison's domestic and foreign policy as President. Of the letters critical of Madison, some include threats and conspiracy theories. Two pseudonyms that appear frequently are "Charles Hall" and "Edmund Kelly." While many of the letters are critical, some were from political supporters. Items of note here include a series of letters dated 1808-1809 that are signed "H." which detail recent events in New York State politics and include negative opinions of DeWitt Clinton. The family correspondence includes letters sent or received by members of Madison's family other than those to or from Madison himself. The bulk of the material is addressed to Dolley Madison, although there are several letters written to Madison's stepson, John Payne Todd and a letter written by Madison's father, James Madison, Sr. Many of the letters received by the family address the death of James Madison in 1836. The remainder of the collection consists of documents written or signed by James Madison excluding correspondence. Included are checks, contracts, an address delivered by Madison that includes notations, and a note of Madison's accounts with James Monroe. Several documents that are neither Madison correspondence nor signed by Madison are also included within this collection. The bulk are documents that were either used by or pertain to him with two exceptions being a French patent of John Payne Todd's and Dolley Madison's handwritten copy of the poem "Niagara" by Lord Morpeth, dated 1847.
Funding: This project was made possible by a lead gift from The Polonsky Foundation.
Ownership: The bulk of the collection is comprised of Lenox Library accession 10773, purchased from W.R. Benjamin on May 10, 1897; Lenox Library accession 10784, purchased from E.B. Sterling of Trenton, N.J., August, 1897; and transfers from the Ford collection and Thomas Addis Emmet collection. The Ford Collection was compiled by Gordon L. Ford, business manager of the New York Tribune from 1873 to 1881 and collector of documents pertaining to early American history. Ford's collection was later purchased by J. Pierpont Morgan and portions of it were donated to The New York Public Library in 1899. Additional Madison items were received as part of the Thomas Addis Emmet collection. The Emmet Collection was collected by Dr. Thomas Addis Emmet, a collector of early American history manuscripts. His collection was later purchased by John S. Kennedy and donated to The New York Public Library in 1896. Letters to Edmund Pendleton, Lenox Library accession number 9466, were purchased from F.W. Morris, October 1896
Acquisition: The James Madison papers were compiled from various purchases, gifts, and donations from multiple sources between 1892 and 1959
Physical Description
Extent: 1.78 linear feet (4 boxes, 1 oversized folder)
Type of Resource
Text
Identifiers
MSS Unit ID: 1833
NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b11904004
Archives collections id: archives_collections_1833
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 9ccb18b0-7a74-0132-a7b1-58d385a7b928
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