Invitation to Mr. F. C. Labbe's Ball
This engraved invitation to Dolley Madison requests her presence at Mr. F. C. Labbe's Ball at the National Theatre in Washington, D.C., on May 6, in an unspecified year (but probably between 1836, when her husband, James Madison, died, and her own death in 1849). Francois Labbe, a French immigrant, was a well-known dance teacher in Washington, D.C., who showcased his students in a performance every May. The National Intelligencer dated September 25, 1848, wrote of the Labbe balls, "All will remember with delight those brilliant May-day spectacles in which the accomplishments of his pupils were displayed with such agreeable taste and effect." As a widow, Dolley Madison lived either in Washington, D.C., or her Virginia home, Montpelier, and remained socially active.
Citation: Papers Concerning Dolley Madison, 1810–49, Accession #8607. Special Collections, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va.