Patterson, Elizabeth, 1785–1879, American wife of Jérôme Bonaparte, b. Baltimore. On a visit to America, Jérôme Bonaparte, brother of Napoleon Bonaparte, met and married her (1803). Jérôme was a minor, and Napoleon refused to recognize the marriage. When Jérôme returned (1805) to France, his wife was forbidden to land and went to England, where her son, Jerome Napoleon Bonaparte, was born. Napoleon issued (1806) a state decree of annulment for his brother, and Elizabeth Patterson was given a large annual pension.
See E. L. Didier, Life and Letters of Mme Bonaparte (1879); C. E. N. Macartney and J. G. Dorrance, The Bonapartes in America (1939); S. Mitchell, A Family Lawsuit (1958).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.