Scott Harris, director of the James Monroe Museum, and Heidi Stello, editorial assistant for the Papers of James Monroe, provided the program for the annual Monroe Dinner at the Arts Club of Washington on Saturday, April 8. Their presentation, titled “James Monroe: Theme & Variations,” explored Monroe’s half-century of public service, and was supplemented by music drawn from pieces found in the 1818 music book belonging to Monroe’s daughter, Maria. Featured pieces included “Washington’s March at the Battle of Trenton,” “President Monroe’s March,” “Blue Eyed Mary,” and Jean Latour’s “A Favorite Air with 6 Variations.”
The Arts Club of Washington is housed in the I Street townhouse where Monroe lived during his tenure as Secretary of State and War from 1811-1817, as well as during the early months of his presidency, as the White House was undergoing continued repairs from the British attack on Washington in August 1814. The original music book, as well as Monroe’s 1803 Astor pianoforte, are held in the collections of the James Monroe Museum at 908 Charles Street in downtown Fredericksburg.