web analytics
 

Melania Trump is the 49 year old wife of the country's 45th president, Donald J. Trump Her striking appearance seems to preclude any significant medical problems. Moreover, her penchant for privacy further beclouds any significant history of illness or physical disability. It was a sudden surprise when Mrs. Trump was hospitalized in...

Dear Friends, This blog has been inactive even moribund for many months, a situation that this author is determined to correct. First an explanation - many interesting and rather long travels, to the Panama Canal, along the Danube, Vienna, and most recently a cruise from Sydney to Singapore. Another, and more than satisfying,...

John Eaton was President Jackson's Secretary of War. This cabinet choice was controversial and ultimately disruptive. Not the first time that a president, upon reflection, would want a 'do over,' as President Trump retrospectively regrets his selection of Jeff Sessions as Attorney General. Eaton (1790-1856) had much to recommend him for...

A PRIMER TO THE 25th AMENDMENT TO THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION Donald Trump recently completed his first comprehensive medical examination as United States President. Before and immediately after this event, the mainstream media made a big fuss over the applicability of the 25th Amendment to his ability to function as president....

From Policy Allies to Political Enemies   John Quincy Adams, the sixth United States President, was succeeded in 1828 by Andrew Jackson, its seventh president. Their rivalry during both the 1824 and 1828 presidential campaigns became both politically intense and personally hateful. Jackson blamed Adams for the death of his beloved wife Rachel...

AMERICAN PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS DOES NOT SPARE PRESIDENTIAL WIVES Recent history has taught that the wives of Presidents and of presidential candidates do not escape collateral damage when their husbands are under fire from political enemies. The opposition tactic was to damage the target by inflicting pain on his closest ally, his...

[caption id="attachment_17011" align="alignleft" width="300"] Generated by IJG JPEG Library[/caption] While Melania Trump has settled into the traditional role of a First Lady, her step-daughter Ivanka Trump has assumed the policy/political profile of many recent First Ladies. This bifurcation of what many assume to be the duties and responsibilities of the wife of an...

President GH Bush celebrated his 93d birthday on June 12, 2017. His health remains fragile; he was released from Houston's Methodist Hospital in late April 2017 after treatment for bronchitis and pneumonia. Moreover, he suffers from Parkinson's Disease which confines him to a wheel chair. Fortunately, the ex-president has recovered;...

Melania Trump has moved into the White House and has assumed the traditional responsibilities of a First Lady. Her role became apparent during the Trumps' recent Mideast and Europe trip. She was prominently photographed at ceremonial dinners, during the Trumps' visit to the Vatican, and at appearances at childens' hospitals....

BARBARA BUSH, THE OLDEST FIRST LADY, STILL LIVING, WILL BE NINETY-TWO ON AUGUST 8th. Presently, the United States is fortunate to have five living former First Ladies: Barbara Bush will celebrate her ninety-second birthday on August 8, 2017. She was recently hospitalized for a week in Houston to recover from bronchitis. Her...

During her October 2015 testimony before the House of Representatives Select Committee on the 2012 Benghazi attack, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was convulsed by spasmodic coughing. Although she recovered to complete her testimony, videos of the event were widely viewed both on television and on social media. Since Mrs....

Helen (Nellie) Taft was the wife of President William Howard Taft, the 27th President of the United States (1909-1913). While a teenager Nellie and her family were White House guests of President Rutherford and First Lady Lucy Hayes during the Christmas/New Year celebrations of 1877-8. John Herron, Helen Taft's father,...

Grover Cleveland is the only United States President to serve two non-consecutive terms (1885-9; 1893-7).  Cleveland, when elected the first time, was and still remains the nation's only second bachelor president. However, in contrast with his predecessor James Buchanan, he married during his time in office. Rose successfully fulfilled the social,...

Grover Cleveland is the only United States President to serve non-consecutive terms (1881-5; 1893-7). As a consequence his presidencies are counted twice, he is both our 22nd and 24th presidents. Cleveland, when elected the first time, was and still remains the nation's only second bachelor president. However, in contrast with his...

  Chester Alan Arthur became America's twenty-first president (1881-1885) after the assassination of President James Garfield. Arthur's wife, Ellen, had recently died from pneumonia. Chester Arthur was the fourth U.S. President who entered the White House as a widower. Initially, he decided against the appointment of a permanent surrogate to fulfill the...

Eliza Johnson, Martha's mother, was the wife of Andrew Johnson, America's 17th president (1865-1869), who achieved the presidency upon the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Mrs. Johnson was enfeebled by tuberculosis, and as first lady, according to one report, "spent most of he time in her room, where she read, embroidered,...

HARRIET LANE II WHAT'S A SURROGATE FIRST LADY TO DO AFTER THE WHITE HOUSE? The Surrogate Harriet Lane did plenty and accomplished much. Initially she cared and supported her bachelor uncle, ex-president James Buchanan, at his Wheatland estate, nearby Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Buchanan died in 1868; his will generously acknowledged his niece. His...

James Buchanan (1857-1861) was the fifteenth United States president and its only lifetime bachelor. Moreover, it was often suggested, but never documented, that he also was America's only homosexual president. (1) Bereft of a wife and daughters, Buchanan selected as his White House "first lady" Harriet Lane, his beloved niece...

First Lady Jane Pierce was the wife of President Franklin Pierce (1853-7). Mrs. Pierce was a sad, tubercular, and unhappy denizen of the White House during the first two years of her husband's failed presidency. The traumatic death of the Pierces' third and sole surviving child shortly before Pierce's 1853...

In her new biography that emphasized the private contours of the Johnson marriage, Betty Boyd Caroli illuminated several of its cryptic and less favorable aspects. The biographer referred to D. Jablow Hershman's 2002 book on LBJ's mental condition, "Using a term popular during Lyndon's lifetime but later replaced by bi-polar, Hershman...

Betty Boyd Caroli, a noted biographer of America's First Ladies, recently authored a book about the wife of America's 34th President, Lyndon Baines Johnson (LBJ). Lady Bird and Lyndon focused upon the whirlwind courtship and thirty-eight year marriage between the demure Claudia Taylor of East Texas and the out-sized...

First Lady Abigail Fillmore, the wife of President Millard Fillmore (1850-1853), delegated most of her routine social duties to her only daughter Mary Abigail (Abbie). Both physical limitations and intellectual reasons ordained the elder Abigail's decision. The president's wife was partially lame as a result of a previous accident. Six...

Mary Elizabeth Taylor, affectionately called "Miss Betty," was the youngest daughter of Zachary and Margaret Taylor. Her father was United States President from March, 1849 until his death from a virulent gastrointestinal illness in July, 1850. Her mother, Margaret Taylor, was a military wife, who dutifully followed Zachary Taylor to his...

One of the most interesting and successful first lady surrogates was Priscilla Cooper Tyler, the daughter in law of President John Tyler, the tenth United States president (1841-1845). Letitia Tyler, his wife, was severely disabled, and ultimately died (September, 1842) from cerebrovascular disease. Tyler, still president, remarried two years later. Until...

DAUGHTER AND SURROGATE, 'ASSISTANT FIRST LADY,' and SOCIAL RENEGADE [caption id="attachment_638" align="alignleft" width="300"] Eliza Monroe Hay[/caption] Elizabeth Monroe, the wife of two term president James Monroe (1817-1825), is generally considered an ineffective first lady. The brilliant success of Dolley Madison as a White House social paragon would have dimmed the brightness of...

Martin Van Buren was the eighth president of the United States (1837-1841). He had been Andrew Jackson's vice president, and like Jackson, was a widower. Unlike his predecessor, Van Buren's wife perished many years before he entered the White House. This president was the father of four sons, all of whom...

EMILY DONELSON, HIS NIECE, WAS AN ACCOMPLISHED MANAGER OF THE WHITE HOUSE Regular readers of this blog will recognize the narrative below as the fourth entry in a series that features Surrogate First Ladies, those women, non-spouses of an incumbent president, who performed the social, ceremonial, and household managerial functions of...