John Heaton (jheaton) wrote,
John Heaton
jheaton

Ten random things: August 18

Ten First Ladies of the United States:

  1. Rosalynn Carter (wife of Jimmy Carter)
  2. Louisa Adams (wife of John Quincy Adams)
  3. Abigail Fillmore (wife of Millard Fillmore)
  4. Caroline Harrison (wife of Benjamin Harrison)
  5. Eleanor Roosevelt (wife of Franklin Roosevelt)
  6. Laura Bush (wife of George W. Bush)
  7. Anna Harrison (wife of William Henry Harrison)
  8. Eliza McCardle Johnson (wife of Andrew Johnson)
  9. Edith Roosevelt (wife of Theodore Roosevelt)
  10. Lady Bird Johnson (wife of Lyndon Johnson)

As it turns out, all of the First Ladies who ended up on this list were wives of Presidents, but there have been several instances in which the woman who served as First Lady -- that is, the hostess of the White House -- was not married to the President. For example, Mary McElroy was the sister of the widowed Chester A. Arthur and acted as his First Lady. And bachelor James Buchanan's niece, Harriet Lane, was First Lady during his term in office. The last person to act as First Lady without being married to the President was Mary Harrison McKee, who took over the hosting duties after her mother, the aforementioned Caroline Lavinia Scott Harrison, passed away toward the end of the Harrison administration. Other interesting First Lady facts:

  • Anna Harrison is recognized as a First Lady by The National First Ladies' Library, but never actually served as White House hostess. She was ill when the time came for William Henry Harrison to travel to Washington to be sworn in, so she stayed behind in New York while her daughter-in-law Jane Irwin Harrison went to Washington to act as hostess. Anna was preparing for the move to Washington when the President died 30 days into his term.
  • The only person to act as first lady for more than one President was Dolley Madison, who shared the duty during the Jefferson administration with the widowed President's daughter, Martha Jefferson Randolph.  
  • Dolley Madison was also, according to legend, the first person to be referred to as the First Lady, in a eulogy delivered by Zachary Taylor, in 1849. The term didn't come into popular use nationwide until 1877, in reference to Lucy Hayes.  
  • John Tyler had three First Ladies: Letitia Tyler, his first wife, who died in the second year of his presidency; Priscilla Cooper Tyler, his daughter-in-law; and his second wife, Julia Tyler, whom he married in 1844.
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