Center for Women's History
Women’s history is American history. Bring it into your classroom with our new curriculum!
Major support for Women and the American Story provided by
Robert and Mercedes Eichholz Foundation
Curriculum website and learning experience made possible through a grant from
This program is supported as part of the Dutch Culture USA program by the Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York.
Lead support for New-York Historical's teacher programs provided by
Dolley Madison’s Silk Satin Open Robe. The National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution.
Resource 5: Fashion and Politics
This exploration of Dolley’s sense of fashion shows both her taste for luxurious French fabric and her awareness of the political messages conveyed by her clothing choices. The combined message of her clothing and her personality—European style and New World informality—subtly signaled that the United States would take its place among the world’s great powers, but it would do so on its own terms.