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Dolley Madison's Missing Andirons: McLean Library Searches For First Lady's Artifacts

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DOLLEY MADISON COLOR
An 1848 portrait of Dolley Madison by William S. Elwell. Courtesy National Portrait Gallery/Smithsonian Institution | NPG/Smithsonian

WASHINGTON -- First lady Dolley Madison has been credited with rescuing a handful of items from the White House, including a famous Gilbert Stuart portrait of George Washington, before their destruction when the British attacked the nation's capital in 1814.

Now, some of her own personal artifacts are missing.

According to McLean Patch, the Dolley Madison Library, part of the Fairfax County Library system, has proof that it once had a pair of the first lady's brass andirons. But those items are nowhere to be found. The branch manager, Starr Smith, has searched everywhere and can't locate them. Smith told Patch that they likely went missing years ago when the library moved locations:

"The andirons were to be stored some place safe. ... The andirons did not make it to this location. We have no idea where the 'safe place' was. We know the andirons existed but we don't know where they are."

Smith is now asking long-time residents in McLean if they know where they might be, hoping they might turn up in somebody's attic or basement.

For more on the mystery, click here.