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Elizabeth Monroe

Image shows the front of the Elizabeth Monroe gold coin.

James Monroe, at the age of 28, married 17-year-old Elizabeth Kortright.  The couple lived in Virginia, but because James served as the Foreign Minister to Great Britain, France, and Spain, they spent several years overseas.  Elizabeth's beauty and style made her popular in France, where people called her la belle Americaine.

Her time in Europe inspired her to bring a European stateliness and formality to the White House.  Their youngest daughter, Maria, was the first president's child ever married in the White House.  It was a small wedding with few guests.  The Monroes retired from the White House to Oak Hill, their estate in Virginia, where Elizabeth lived for the rest of her life.

Design on Reverse

Image shows the back of the Elizabeth Monroe gold coin.

Soon after James took office, repairs on the White House were finished.  Damage was caused by a fire set by the British during the War of 1812.  The Monroes celebrated the reopening of the White House on January 1, 1818, with a grand New Year's party.  In this design, Elizabeth stands beside some of the White House's architectural detailing.

The couple gave some of their own furniture to the government so the White House, which was almost empty when they moved in, could be furnished.  The furniture's French Empire style set a formal tone, which they though fitting for the Executive Mansion.  Nine of those furniture pieces remain in the White House today.


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