A Guide to

James Madison Memorabilia, 1796-1951

SC 0119

Compiled by: Chris Bolgiano, April 1983; Revised February 1994;
Updated July 2008; Revised Oct. 2010

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University

Title: James Madison Memorabilia, 1796-1951

Collection No.: SC 0119

Creator: Unknown

Extent: 3 boxes; 1.77 cubic feet

Language: English

Abstract: James Madison Memorabilia, 1796-1951, contains correspondence, official documents, engravings, photographs, and artifacts related to James Madison, the Madison family, and descendents.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions: Collection open to research. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection. Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the James Madison University Special Collections Library to use this collection.
Use Restrictions:
The copyright interests in this collection have been transferred to the James Madison University Special Collections Library. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library Reference Desk (library-special@jmu.edu).
Preferred Citation: [identification of item], [box #, folder #], James Madison Memorabilia, 1796-1951, SC 0119, Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Va.
Acquisition Information: This collection was created in 1983 from miscellaneous items housed in library storage when Special Collections was first developed and initiated in 1982.
Provenance: Many of the items in this collection were donated to James Madison University, then called Madison College, in the 1930s and 1940s from a variety of sources. An undated, unsigned typescript inventory was found in storage with the items in 1982. This inventory, currently stored in the collection's control file, gives provenance information for some items, while handwritten tags accompanying some items and further research provided provenance for others. Provenance for individual items is given, when known, in the "Contents" list.
Processing Information:
In 1983, the items were boxed together as a collection and moved to Special Collections. In 1994, the collection was re-boxed and reorganized to be consistent with the standards developed for manuscript collections. In July 2008, the preservationist removed images from frames to prevent further acidic damage. Frames have been retained and moved to storage. A photograph found behind the previously framed Montpelier photo was removed and added to Folder Six, Photographs Donated by Corrie B. Macon Hill. In October 2010, the finding aid was updated into a new formatting template and some folder names were changed for greater clarity of contents and organization. The collection itself was not reorganized. In August 2011, two albumen prints were discovered in a storage room in Carrier Library along with a gift acknowledgement letter dated 21 May 1970 from President G. Tyler Miller to Mrs. R. Harris Kesler indicating that the pictures would be added to the Madison Memorial Library's Madison Collection.

In order to streamline the process of applying collection numbers, Special Collections staff completed a large-scale renumbering campaign in the spring of 2017. This collection was previously cataloged as SC 2099.

Biographical/Historical Note

Due to the nature of this collection, a historical note is not applicable.

Scope and Content

James Madison Memorabilia, 1796-1951, contains correspondence, official documents, engravings, photographs, and artifacts related to James Madison, the Madison family, and descendents. It is arranged topically into five series and described at the item level.

Series 1, Miscellaneous Materials, 1795, 1938, 1951, consists of a letter written by J. Madison Sr., genealogical papers, and stamps bearing James Madison's likeness.

Series 2, Illustrative Materials, undated, consists of a postcard, photographs, and portrait reproductions of James and Dolley Madison, descendents, and Montpelier. Two nineteenth century albumen prints of paintings by P. Polk in Philadelphia in 1777, of James Madison's parents: Col. James Madison Sr. and Nelly Rose Conway.

Series 3, Documents Signed by James Madison, 1801-1815, includes several letters of commission signed by Madison, a check written by Madison, and a letter of patent signed by Madison and Jefferson.

Series 4, Newspaper Items, 1812-1821, is composed of two articles related to James Madison from 1812 and 1836.

Series 5, Artifacts, 1809,undated, includes several three-dimensional items related to James Madison, his family, and descendents.


The collection is arranged topically into five series: Miscellaneous Materials, Illustrative Materials, Documents Signed by Madison, Newspaper Items, and Artifacts.

Separated Material

In 2008, frames were removed from photographs and engravings and moved to storage.


Series 1: Miscellaneous Materials, 1796, 1938, 1951 Box:Folder

Letter from James Madison Sr. to Thomas Macon, 1796

Letter given by Mrs. Annie James Yowell Jeffries, who obtained it from Corrie B. Macon Hill, James Madison's great-great neice.


Madison Family Genealogy, 1951

Copies of John P. Madison's 35 page working genealogical papers, with a 1951 cover letter from Mildred Madison, who provided the copies.


James Madison Stamps, 1938

The Madison stamps were issued July 1, 1938. They are affixed to five envelopes addressed to S.P. Duke, Madison College President, and cancelled on or near the day of issue at five different post offices significant to the life of James Madison. They were presented to the school by Conrad T. Logan, professor of English at Madison College.

Series 2: Illustrative Materials, undated  

Miscellaneous Images, undated

Postcard, Photographic and depicts a young girl and boy in early American dress. According to writing on the back, the dress worn by the girl once belonged to Sally Catlett Madison Macon, James Madison's sister. The postcard was donated by Corrie B. Macon Hill, descendent of Sally Catlett Macon and James Madison's great-great neice.

Two Photos of Corrie B. Macon Hill, These two 8x10 photographs are identical shots of C. Hill at her home in Culpepper, Virginia. One is black and white, the other is tinted. They were donated by the Madison College Alumnae Association of Culpepper in 1940.


Engravings from books, undated

Of James Madison, engraved by W.A. Wilmer; Of Dolley Madison, engraved by J. Prudhomme


Photographs Donated by Corrie B. Macon Hill, undated

Photograph of Montpelier, 10.5"x12.5" silver gelatin print of James Madison's home, Montpelier, before it was remodeled. Date unknown.

Photograph of unknown gentleman, An albumen photograph of an unknown gentleman from the mid to late nineteenth century, which was found behind the photo of Montpelier.


Engravings Purchased by the library, undated

Of James Madison, engraving from original by Chappel, Purchased for Madison College in 1940 from H.H. Diers of Washingotn , DC; Of James Madison, engraving by W.Wellstood from G. Stuart original, Purchased for Madison College in 1940 from H.H. Diers of Washington, DC; Of James Madison, etching by A. Rosenthal from G. Stuart original, Purchased for Madison College in 1940 from H.H. Diers of Washington, DC; Of Dolley Madison, engraving by J. Prudhomme from J. Woods original, Purchased for Madison College in 1940 from H.H. Diers of Washington, DC; Of James Madison, engraving by H.B.Hall from G. Stuart original, Purchased for Madison College in 1940 from H.H. Diers of Washington, DC


Albumen Prints, 19th century

These two albumen prints are of paintings by P. Polk of Philadelphia in 1777 of James Madison's parents: Col. James Madison Sr. and Nelly Rose Conway. Extensive genealogical information is written on the back of each; possibly in the hand of a Madison descendant.

OV 1:4
Series 3: Documents Signed by Madison, 1801-1815  

Correspondence, Commissions, Check, 1801-1815

Letter to F.H. Dillingham, 1801, Donated by Eleanor Bird Cook, 1935; Letter of Commission, Joseph Kean to second lieutenant, 1810; Letter from Robert Brent, 1810, Brent was the Paymaster for the U.S. Army at the time. Item was obtained from the estate of J.A. Sawhill; Check to "A.B. or bearer," 1813, Check written by James Madison for $200. Obtained from the estate of J.A. Sawhill; Letter of Commission, Joseph Kean to captain, 1815; Letter of Commission, A. McFarland to third lieutenant, 1815, Donated by Kappa Delta Phi, August 1942

OV 1:1

Patent, 1808

Patent is signed by James Madison and Thomas Jefferson. It was issued to Samuel Gragg for his chair design. Gragg's trade card is also affixed to the back. The patent was given to Madison College July 27, 1938 by Kappa Delta Pi

OV 1:2

Monroe, Madison Signed Document and Images, March 27, 1813

Fragment of document signed by James Monroe and James Madison. It was transferred to Special Collections by the Development Office on May 24, 2018.

Series 4: Newspaper Items, 1812-1821  
Liberty Hall 8, no 400 (July 21, 1812), Refers to an act approved by James Madison; National Intelligencer 37, no 5382 (Dec. 3, 1836), An eulogy written by John Q. Adams for James Madison OV 1:3

Niles' Weekly Register issues, 1813-1821

The Weekly Register no. 22 vol. IV (July 31, 1813), Niles' Weekly Register no. 15 vol. IX (December 9, 1815), Niles' Weekly Register no. 4 vol. XII (March 22, 1817), Niles' Weekly Register no. 5 vol. XII (March 28, 1817), Niles' Weekly Register no. 8 vol. VIII (April 21, 1821), Niles' Weekly Register no. 9 vol. VIII (April 28, 1821)

Series 5: Artifacts, 1809, undated  

Spyglass, undated

Believed to have belonged to James Madison and may be the same spyglass referred to in several letters between Madison and Jefferson, who obtained a spyglass for Madison from abroad. Item was obtained for Madison College from descendents of James Madison.

OV 2 (Artifact cabinet)

Indian Peace Medal, 1809

A rare, silver medal presented by James Madison, in 1809, to an unknown Native American chief for his efforts towards peace. The medal was donated to Madison College by the Cotillion Club on May 4, 1938. The Cotillion Club acquired the medal from the previous owner, Charles H. Fisher, of Cleveland, OH, who in turn obtained the medal in Buffalo, NY from an unknown source.

OV 2 (Artifact cabinet)

Presidential Medal

A bronze presidential medal, of unknown provenance, bearing an image of a bust of James Madison.

OV 2 (Artifact cabinet)

Pocket Knife

A pearl-handled pocket knife said to have belonged to James Madison was gifted on December 8, 1939 by the Madison College Granddaughters Club, who purchased it from S.P. Hill, a descendent of Madison. The knife originially had 14 blades, most of which are broken or missing. An "M" has been scratched into each side of the handle.

OV 2 (Artifact cabinet)


Belonged to the Madison family and was obtained for the school through descendents of Madison.

OV 2 (Artifact cabinet)


Scales date to the period after James Madison's death, but are believed to be connected with the Madison family. Provenance unknown.

OV 2 (Artifact cabinet)


Said to have belonged to James Madison. Research indicates that the pistol is actually an 1863 Remington New Model Army .44. It may have belonged to descendents of Madison during this period. It was originally loaned to the school by Robert E. Mattox, date unknown, who reported that his great-great grandfather received the pistol as a gift from the Madison family.

OV 2 (Artifact cabinet)


Believed to have belonged to Dolley Madison, the saltcellar is made of glass and roughly 5" high. Saltcellar was donated by Mrs. Rose MacDonald Skoggs, who obtained it from Corrie B. Macon Hill.

OV 2 (Artifact cabinet)