Saving History: The White House, Dolley Madison and the War of 1812
- Grade Level:
- Fourth Grade-Eleventh Grade
- African American History and Culture, Art, Education, Historic Preservation, Military and Wartime History, U.S. First Ladies, War of 1812, Women's History
- 1-2 Class periods
- Group Size:
- Up to 36 (6-12 breakout groups)
- National/State Standards:
- For a list of National Standards please see complete lesson plan.
- war of 1812, Star Fort, Star-Spangled Banner, Star-Spangled Banner Flag, first lady, Chesapeake Campaign, Chesapeake Bay, James Madision, Dolley Madison, Burning of the White House, George Washington portrait, Primary Source
OverviewThe events leading up to the burning of the White House during the War of 1812 have been well chronicled. Among the most celebrated events of the war was the saving of George Washington’s portrait by Dolley Madison before the White House was torched. Thanks to a letter written by Mrs. Madison prior to her escape this event is recounted. Recently, however, an expert concluded that perhaps the write the letter was written later - perhaps 20 years later. From the White House Historical Associati
Objective(s)After reading letters written by First Lady Dolley Madison and completing the activities, students will be able to:
For further information on Dolley Madision in the White House and much more visit the White House Historical Association.
Please see Lesson Plan pdf for activities and a complete procedure list.
Activity 1: Dolley to the Rescue
Activity 2: Putting Historical Documents to Work: The Long Life of Dolley Madison's Letter
Additional ResourcesWhite House Historical Association. White House History, Journal Article I: "Reminiscence of Madison," by Paul Jennings. (This article is a complete reprint of the 1865 memoir of Jennings, a slave who worked in the White House during Madison's presidency.)
Last updated: June 5, 2018