The queen of America : Mary Cutts's life of Dolley Madison /
edited by Catherine Allgor.
Charlottesville : University of Virginia Press, 2012.
xvi, 218 p.
081393298X (cloth : alk. paper), 9780813932989 (cloth : alk. paper)
More Details
series title
Charlottesville : University of Virginia Press, 2012.
081393298X (cloth : alk. paper)
9780813932989 (cloth : alk. paper)
general note
Includes two transcriptions of Mary Estelle Elizabeth Cutts's manuscript as well as a study of Cutts's authorship and women's historical writing in the nineteenth century.
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2013-02-01:
This engaging volume focuses on the first biography and the first biographer of Dolley Payne Todd Madison, first lady of the US and wife of President James Madison. Mary Cutts, Dolley Madison's niece, originally wrote two versions of a memoir about her aunt, which would not be published until 1886. Allgor (Univ. of California, Riverside) expertly interprets and contextualizes the Cutts manuscripts and offers valuable transcriptions with copious attention to detail and to high documentary editing standards. Additional essays by noted Dolley Madison scholars Holly Shulman and Elizabeth Taylor offer important insights into both Dolley's and Mary Cutts's lives and experiences. A central theme of the book is the accuracy of Cutts's account in comparison to current historical research and accepted methodology. Cutts's omissions and inaccuracies, the writers aptly demonstrate, offer interesting clues into the lives of women and social customs in the early 19th century. Appropriate for undergraduate and graduate collections focusing on women in the Early Republic and on historiography, and essential for general readers interested in learning more about women's roles in US history. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates and above. E. A. Novara University of Maryland
Review Quotes
The Queen of America reconstructs the earliest biography of Dolley Madison, written by a niece who probably heard her famous aunt tell her own stories. The editor and contributors evocatively place that memoir into the time of its creation-a time when cultural dictates obscured women's political activity rather than revealed it. This book offers an intimate glimpse into life-writing in nineteenth-century America.
Insightful, engaging, and well-written, The Queen of America provides a brilliant examination of the meaning and limits of women's history.
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, February 2013
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Main Description
For biographers and fans of Dolley Payne Todd Madison, Mary Cutts's memoir of her famous aunt has been indispensable. Because Madison left behind no account of her life, the common assumption has been that Cutts's account is the closest we have to Madison's autobiographical voice. With this new, annotated transcription of both drafts of the memoir, The Queen of America offers scholars and general readers the first modern and contextualized version of this crucial piece of Founding-era biography. An opening essay by the acclaimed Dolley Madison biographer Catherine Allgor presents the memoir not only as a source for information on Madison herself, but also as a prime example of a nineteenth-century woman, Mary Cutts, making a bid for historical significance. Essays by Holly Shulman, editor of The Dolley Madison Digital Edition, and Montpelier research scholar Beth Taylor evaluate the historical uses and misuses of the document for understanding Dolley's life and supply background information on Mary, the niece who fashioned Dolley Madison's life into part of the historical record. The questions raised by Cutts's memoir are intriguing: Given that most of the story takes place before Cutts's birth, whose voice are we hearing? What are we to make of the lies and omissions along the way? What family secrets is Cutts hiding, and whose are they? With Allgor as guide, we enter the fascinating world of nineteenth-century history in the making.
Table of Contents
Foreword by Cokie Robertsp. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xv
List of Abbreviationsp. xvii
Introductionp. 1
The Lady Vanishes: Mary Estelle Elizabeth Cutts's Memoir of Dolley Payne Todd Madisonp. 7
History, Memory, and Dolley Madison: Notes from a Documentary Editorp. 42
Miss Cuttsp. 70
Editorial Notep. 85
Cutts Memoir Ip. 87
Cutts Memoir IIp. 133
The Last Lettersp. 197
Notes on Contributorsp. 203
A Note on Indexingp. 205
Indexp. 207
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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