First Ladies Elizabeth Monroe


Elizabeth Kortright Monroe


  • Born at New York City, 1768
  • Married James Monroe, February 1786
  • Had three children
    • Eliza Kortright Monroe-Hay (1787 – ?), James Spence Monroe, died at age 2, Maria Hester Monroe-Gouverneur (1803 – 1850)
  • First Lady from March 4, 1817 to March 3, 1825
  • She died on September 23, 1830
  • Interesting facts
    While her husband was a patriot veteran, her father had been a loyalist during the Revolutionary War.

    They were posted in Paris during the French Revolutionary War. During that time she is credited with the release of Adrienne de Noiolles de Lafayette from jail. Per the biography at National First Ladies Library

    During the last days of the French Revolution, Elizabeth Monroe made a name for herself by her courageous visit to Adrienne de Noiolles de Lafayette, the imprisoned wife of the Marquis de Lafayette – the great personal friend of George Washington and many other revolutionary era patriots and France’s most prominent supporter of American independence. Elizabeth Monroe, in the American Embassy’s carriage, made it a point to visit the woman in prison; it was as clear a message as could be made unofficially by the U.S. government. Not wishing to offend their ally, the French government used Elizabeth Monroe’s “unofficial” interest in Adrienne de Lafayette to release her on January 22, 1795 without any official provocation and thus maintain their alliance with the U.S. yet save face for the imprisonment.

    Focus while in the White House
    She was in ill health for many years. Thus, she paid no social calls. Also, she changed the white house customs to be like the formal atmosphere of the European courts. It has been reported that she was snubbed because of this and the comparisons made to Dolley Madison, who set the standard for future First Ladies.


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