Madison Hall

Portrait of Dolley Madison, 1804

 Namesake

 Madison Hall is named after Dolley Payne Madison, the wife of James Madison, the fourth president of the United States.[1. William B. Crawley, Jr., University of Mary Washington: A Centennial History,1908-2008 (Fredericksburg, VA: University of Mary Washington Foundation, 2008), 33.] Dolly Payne was born to John and Mary Coles Payne who were settlers in Virginia, originally from North Carolina.[2. “Dolley Payne Todd Madison,” The White House, http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/first-ladies/dolleymadison (accessed February 27, 2012).] She grew up as a member of the Society of Friends, also known as Quakers.[3. “Dolley Payne Todd Madison,” The White House, http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/first-ladies/dolleymadison (accessed February 27, 2012).] She married John Todd, Jr. in 1790, but he died from a yellow fever epidemic three years later.[4. “Dolley Payne Todd Madison,” The White House, http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/first-ladies/dolleymadison (accessed February 27, 2012).] In 1794, she married James Madison, a representative and Episcopalian.[5. “Dolley Payne Todd Madison” http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/first-ladies/dolleymadison.] She was a successful hostess at the White House. Also, she is best known for saving the full-length portrait of George Washington by Gilbert Stuart while risking attack by the British.[6.  Edward Alvey, Jr., History of Mary Washington College 1908-1972 (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1974), 196.] She remained in Washington D.C. until her death in 1849.

Exterior of Madison Hall

Building History

Madison Hall began construction in 1933, alongside Custis Hall.[7. Crawley, 33.] Madison Hall is one of three buildings that forms the tri-unit including Ball Hall and Custis Hall. Amazingly, when the school excavated the future site of the tri-unit area, the workers discovered cannonballs within the soil, remnants from the Civil War that bespoke the inseparable connection the campus has with the nation’s history.[8. Alvey, 18-19.] It was the first residence hall to house only men at the College of Mary Washington, but currently houses 41 men and women of upperclassmen status.[9. “Madison Hall.” University of Mary Washington Residence Life. http://students.umw.edu/residencelife/housing-and-operations/first-year-residence-halls/madison-hall/ (accessed April 29, 2012).]

Madison Hall, March 2012

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