Merchandising First Ladies


When it came to First Ladies hawking products did Dolley Madison trump Melania?

Melania Trump is getting a lot of heat for  promoting her jewelry line on a government  site.

But is Melania the first First Lady to cash in on her husband’s name?

Rutherford  B. Hayes wife Lucy, an advocate of temperance popularly known as Lemonade Lucy sure didn’t take the opportunity promote her own brand of citrusy products and Jackie Kennedy wouldn’t  have dreamt of selling a millinery line of pill-box hats.

However when it came to hawking products did Dolley Madison trump Melania?

Melania may be selling her fashion jewelry on QVC but another First Lady preferred to sell her wares on the aisles of A&P.

Hello Dolly


“Nowhere can you find creamier elegant ice cream. It’s quality is uncompromising . Naturally Dolly Madison costs a few pennies more.” Vintage ad

What baby boomer  doesn’t  remember Dolly Madison ice cream packaged in its  container bearing a colonial style silhouette of her likeness? Sure it cost a little more, but it was endorsed by a First Lady, for chris sake. And an Aladdin  lunch box packed with  Dolly Madison  cup cakes just wasn’t complete with out it.

Sure Dolley was the hostess with the mostess, but it would be  nearly a century and a half  for the chilly strawberry confection bearing her name, the very ice cream that she served  at the White House to be served up in suburban rumpus rooms across the country.

Clearly, Dolley’s dainty hand had little to do with this.

Let Them Eat Cake


“Cakes make your outing a gay affair with Dolly Madison Cakes. Festive, delicious. Everyday is fresh cake day with Dolly Madison.” Vintage ad 1958

A historically popular  First Lady, by mid-century the name  Dolly Madison was used to brand  hats, shoes, luggage and of course,  ice cream and baked goods.

James Madison’s better half  may have served baked goods to the likes of Thomas Jefferson but the brand bearing her name ( sans the e)  Dolly Madison Bakery  was formed in 1937. The company created snacks including the famous cupcakes “fit for a socialite like Madison yet affordable for everyone.”

Though that motto might work for Melania’s line of low-cost costume jewelry, the same can’t be said for First Daughter Ivanka who is also cashing in on her soon to be Presidential Pop . This bone fide socialite’s jewelry  sold at astronomically high prices are least affordable for those “little people” who voted her dad in to office.

What would Dolley Madison think?

© Sally Edelstein and Envisioning The American Dream, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sally Edelstein and Envisioning The American Dream with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.





  1. Pierre Lagacé

    I wonder if you will be able to endure four more minutes of the Trump saga, let alone four more years Sally.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Pierre Lagacé

    On another note Sally…

    Didn’t know about Dolly. But then I live north of the border where all this nasty weather you have comes from.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dolly Madison was married to James Madison, a founding father and the 4th president of the US. A co author of the Constitution, he must be turning over in his grave with the thought of Donald Trump shredding the very document he helped write. Dolly Madison has long been a beloved historical figure, best remembered as retrieving a portrait of George Washington from a burning White House when we were at war with the British during the War of 1812.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, but you forgot these products: Mary Todd Lincoln’s Beard Trimmers, Martha Washington’s False Teeth, Caroline Harrison’s China and Edith Roosevelt’s Bully Pulpits. Seems they all should have a favorable mention. They were great entrepreneurs, you know.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Nope, I know what a merkin is, if that is what you meant


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