Public Programs: Media TV Production

Period of Performance

8/1/2007 - 6/30/2010

Funding Totals

$750,000.00 (approved)
$750,000.00 (awarded)

Dolley Madison

FAIN: TI-50098-07

Twin Cities Public Television, Inc. (St. Paul, MN 55101-1492)
Catherine M. Allan (Project Director: November 2006 to February 2012)

Production of a 90-minute television documentary and web site on the life and career of Dolley Madison, wife of the fourth president of the United States, James Madison.

This proposal is for production of DOLLEY MADISON, a 90-minute television film documenting the life and career of Dolley Payne Todd Madison which is intended for broadcast nationally on PBS in 2008. It is produced and directed by the team that created the Emmy Award-winning Benjamin Franklin for PBS. Drawing on recent biographies and scholarship, DOLLEY MADISON will re-introduce Americans to the achievements of this charismatic First Lady. As the wife of the fourth president, Dolley Madison was a significant participant in the shaping of the United States during its early days as a nation, when the country was struggling to define what it meant to be a republic. The film will explore the ways Dolley Madison used her unelected position to legitimize Washington D.C. as the nation?s capital, to create a political and social style for the new country and to give Americans a sense of their own national identity.

Media Coverage

America's First Lady on American Experience (PBS) (Review)
Author(s): Rachel Ray
Publication: The Daily Telegraph
Date: 3/1/2010
Abstract: Dolley Madison, America’s First Lady, the latest installment in PBS’s American Experience series, upholds the award winning show’s high standards for entertaining while educating. “AMERICAN EXPERIENCE has skillfully brought to life one of young America’s important players.” - The Daily Telegraph

Present at the Creation (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Hank Stuever
Publication: The Washington Post
Date: 3/1/2010
Abstract: Dolley Madison? There's life in the old girl yet, as PBS's "American Experience" series turns its respectful if fidgety gaze Monday night to the woman who defined what being the first lady might mean and who prolonged her social status as the original Washington doyenne. “[Dolley] lovingly recounts the ups and downs of its singularly fascinating subject… an interesting experience in preserving the past.” - The Washington Post

Dolley’s Heaving Bosom, Donated Cow Left Mark on White House (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Dave Shiflett
Publication: Bloomberg News
Date: 3/1/2010

Associated Products

Dolley Madison (Film/TV/Video Broadcast or Recording)
Title: Dolley Madison
Writer: Ronald Blumer
Director: Muffie Meyer
Producer: Catherine Allan
Producer: Muffie Meyer
Producer: Julia Morrison
Producer: Ronald Blumer
Producer: Sharon Sachs
Abstract: A 90-minute portrait of the woman who transformed the previously undefined role of the President's wife and became America's "first" First Lady. Dolley Madison lived through two wars, knew the first twelve Presidents, and watched America evolve from a struggling young republic to the first modern democracy in the world. At a time when women could neither vote nor participate officially in politics, Dolley Madison, wife of the fourth President, James Madison, became one of the most influential and best loved figures of her day. When she died in 1849 at the age of 81 - one of the last remaining members of the founding generation - Washington City honored her with the largest state funeral the capital had ever seen.
Abstract: Dolley Madison is a 90-minute PBS prime-time special that will re-introduce Americans to this charismatic First Lady, examining her role as one of the most influential American women of the early nineteenth century. Viewers will learn how Dolley Madison used her skills as the nation’s first great political hostess to create a distinctly American political style—one that embodied the new country’s republican values. The documentary will also explore how Dolley became a unifying symbol for the country and helped Americans create a national identity.
Year: 2010
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: This website consists of information about the film, including a transcript, further reading and acknowledgments. It also includes downloadable educational materials, special bonus videos, a photo gallery, timeline and more.
Format: DVD
Format: Film
Format: Web

Benjamin Franklin [videorecording] (Book)
Title: Benjamin Franklin [videorecording]
Author: Allan, Catherine M.
Year: 2004
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: WorldCat entry
Publisher: Twin Cities Public Television St. Paul/Minneapolis in association with Middlemarch Films
Type: Single author monograph
ISBN: 9780793695614