Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

Todd, John Payne, 1792-1858
John Payne Todd Correspondence
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
1792-1824 (mostly 1810-1824)
1 box and 0.2 linear feet
Storage Note:
Firestone Library (scamss): Box 1


Consists of selected correspondence of John Payne Todd, stepson of President James Madison.

Collection Description & Creator Information


The collection consists of thirty-five letters sent to John Payne Todd from various correspondents. Subjects of the letters include official business, dinner invitations, his appointment in Ghent (Belgium) as secretary to the U.S. legation, and his mother, Dolley Madison. Among the correspondents are James Baker, John S. Cogdell, Dennis L. Cottineau, J. Erky, George W. Ewing, John Goulding, John Graham, P. Irving, J. J. Kane, Thomas Law, Gilbert Russell, Gabriel Shaw, H. Sommervile, D. B. Warden, and John Wilkes, Jr. Several letters are addressed to Payne at "the President's house," and there are also two letters addressed to Todd's father, John Todd, dated 1792.


Folders are arranged in chronological order.

Collection Creator Biography:

Todd, John Payne, 1792-1858

John Payne Todd was the son of Dolley Payne and her first husband John Todd. After Todd's death, Dolley Payne married President James Madison, making John Payne Todd Madison's stepson. Todd had a weakness for gambling, and was unsuccessful in an assignment seeking Russia's help to end the War of 1812. After the death of President Madison, Dolley Madison was forced to sell the family plantation, Montpelier, to pay her son's debts.

Collection History


The letters were purchased on June 14, 1966 (AM18916).


No appraisal information is available.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Dina Britain on October 12, 2007. Finding aid written by Lauren Kustner on November 9, 2007. Folder Inventory added by Hilde Creager (2015) in 2012.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. No further photoduplication of copies of material in the collection can be made when Princeton University Library does not own the original. Inquiries regarding publishing material from the collection should be directed to RBSC Public Services staff through the Ask Us! form. The library has no information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any questions of copyright.

Credit this material:

John Payne Todd Correspondence; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-3184
Storage Note:
Firestone Library (scamss): Box 1