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:
  • ReCAP (scarcpxm): Box 1


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

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

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 copies may be made for research purposes. To cite or publish quotations that fall within Fair Use, as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission is required. For instances beyond Fair Use, it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for their intended use of the Library's materials, and to obtain all required permissions from any existing rights holders, if they have not already done so. Princeton University Library's Special Collections does not charge any permission or use fees for the publication of images of materials from our collections, nor does it require researchers to obtain its permission for said use. The department does request that its collections be properly cited and images credited. More detailed information can be found on the Copyright, Credit and Citations Guidelines page on our website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us through the Ask Us! form.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

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:
  • ReCAP (scarcpxm): Box 1