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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...

MRS. ROOSEVELT EXPANDED THE PERSONA OF THE AMERICAN FIRST LADY IN REMARKABLE WAYS, BUT PARADOXICALLY LEFT UNFULFILLED ITS IMPORTANT TRADITIONAL ROLE - THE COMFORT AND PERSONAL SUPPORT OF THE PRESIDENT, HER HUSBAND. In 1918, Eleanor Roosevelt, who had borne her husband Franklin Roosevelt (FDR) five children, accidentally uncovered evidence of an...

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...

HOW LOUISA CATHERINE AND JOHN QUINCY ADAMS WORKED TOGETHER TO ACHIEVE HIS PRESIDENCY [caption id="attachment_181" align="alignright" width="300"] Louisa Adams[/caption] John Quincy Adams, the most distinguished diplomat of his era, the son of a former president, one of the most, if not the most learned, American statesman, assumed that he would be elected...

The United States is fortunate that it continues to experience the elegance, the class, the wisdom, and the wit of two of its aging former First Ladies. Nancy Reagan, aged 93 years 6 months recently became America's third longest lived First Lady. Her predecessor Betty Ford lived for 93 years...

  [caption id="attachment_181" align="alignleft" width="300"] Louisa Adams[/caption] Cook's recent book, John Quincy and Louisa Adams, the War of 1812 and the Exile that Saved American Independence, credited John Quincy and Louisa Adams, posted to the Russian court in Saint Petersburg as United States minister and his wife, with initiating an alliance with Czar...

[caption id="attachment_181" align="alignleft" width="300"] Louisa Adams[/caption] A recent book, American Phoenix. John Quincy and Louisa Adams, the War of 1812, and the Exile that Saved American Independence, by Jane Hampton Cook, credits the skill and grace of both Adams during their diplomatic posting to Russia (1809-1815) with salvaging American Independence through...

DID HER HUSBAND'S FAILED PRESIDENCY AFFECT HER RANKING. [caption id="attachment_567" align="alignleft" width="300"] Rosalynn Carter[/caption] Eleanor Rosalynn Smith, as Mrs. Rosalynn Carter, inadvertently or not, may have modeled her four year White House tenure after her illustrious predecessor and namesake, Eleanor Roosevelt. Like Mrs. Roosevelt before her, the wife of President Jimmy Carter...

Rating the First Ladies II [caption id="attachment_557" align="alignleft" width="180"] Abigail Adams[/caption] Over the previous thirty years, the First Ladies of the United States were ranked at least six times, five times by the Siena College Expert Survey (1982, 1993, 2003, 2008, 2014) and once by historian Robert Watson (2000). On five occasions,...

[caption id="attachment_537" align="alignleft" width="300"] Hillary Clinton[/caption] Just when the story of Hillary Clinton's medical history seemingly had run its course, Ed Klein's book Blood Feud arrived on line and in bookstores. The author's narrative deals mainly with the enmity between the Clintons and the Obamas. However, Klein cast doubt upon Mrs. Clinton's...

[caption id="attachment_537" align="alignleft" width="300"] Hillary Clinton[/caption] "Clinton's Hectic Pace Acts as Retort to Health Fears" was the headline by writer Amy Chozick to an article in the May 5, 2014 New York Times. Her report attempted to countermand recent questions about the prospective candidate's health, age, and medical history. Chozick's testimonial to...

[caption id="attachment_537" align="alignleft" width="300"] Hillary Clinton[/caption] The recent furor over Hillary Clinton's medical fitness to be president has its genesis in a medical incident that occurred eighteen months previously, near the end of her tenure as U.S. Secretary of State. The Clintons' well-deserved reputation for dissembling, the delay in announcing the...

[caption id="attachment_537" align="alignleft" width="300"] Hillary Clinton[/caption] Will Hillary Clinton release her medical records when she decides to run for the Presidency in 2016? Most recent Democrat and Republican presidential nominees, with no public history of significant illness, have released summary letters from their physicians of record. During the 2008 campaign, candidate Barak...

[caption id="attachment_537" align="alignleft" width="240"] Hillary Clinton[/caption] If elected as President of the United States in 2016, Hillary Clinton (born 10/26/1947) will, at her Inauguration, become its second oldest President. Ronald Reagan was 69 years, 11 months old at his January, 1981 Inauguration. Age alone requires the release of Mrs. Clinton's medical records...

[caption id="attachment_537" align="alignleft" width="240"] Hillary Clinton[/caption] Former First Lady Hillary Clinton (1993-2001) is widely predicted to be the Democrat nominee for the Presidency of the United States in 2016. In December, 2012 while completing her term as U.S. Secretary of State (2009-2013), Mrs. Clinton suffered a significant head injury. Karl Rove, an...

The splendid Barbara Pierce Bush, the wife of one president and the mother of another, projects a public persona that is opinionated, imperturbable, optimistic, occasionally ferocious and matriarchal. Myra Gutin's 2008 biography "Barbara Bush. Presidential Matriarch" provides a few glimpses into the non-public side of the former first lady. The "Silver...

Martha Jefferson (1748-1782), Rachel Jackson (1767-1828), Hannah Van Buren (1783-1819), Ellen Arthur (1837-1880) [caption id="attachment_462" align="alignleft" width="300"] Martha Jefferson[/caption] The wives of four future presidents died before their husbands were inaugurated as President of the United States. Two (Rachel Jackson and Ellen Arthur) passed away less than a year before they would...

Often alone in her retirement home, Betty Ford's depression worsened. And so did her alcoholism; moreover, her intake of prescription pain medications to assuage her very painful arthritis increased. The results were predictable: listlessness, slurring of speech, absence at scheduled appointments etc. According to Mrs. Ford: "Wherever I went...

Hillary and Bill Clinton have been masters of press manipulation, leaking much favorable information and concealing from view anything negative. Since Ms. Clinton is the far-and-away front runner for the 2016 Democrat presidential nomination, a retrospective scrutiny of her health during the eight year tenure as First Lady is not...

[caption id="attachment_377" align="alignleft" width="197"] Ellen Arthur[/caption] The deceased wife of an obscure president, who ascended to the office, only after the sitting president was assassinated. Ellen Lewis Herndon Arthur was an only child, one of seven presidential wives who had no siblings. However her marriage to attorney Chester Alan Arthur was more...

At a late January congressional hearing former First Lady Hillary Clinton was spotted wearing glasses with a corrective prism for double vision.  Not the only or first First Lady with this optical malady.  One hundred fifty years ago, First Lady Julia Grant was troubled by the effects of childhood double...

[caption id="attachment_181" align="alignleft" width="300"] Louisa Adams[/caption] Louisa Adams undertook two more sailings across the dangerous Atlantic Ocean at the behest of John Quincy Adams (JQA), her diplomat husband and the future sixth United States president (1825-1829). In 1809, President James Madison appointed JQA the United States minister to Russia. JQA did not have...

Louisa Catherine Johnson Adams, Elizabeth Monroe’s successor as American First Lady, was likewise married to a diplomat. Her husband, John Quincy Adams (JQA), was the United States ambassador to Prussia, Russia, and England, prior to his appointment as James Monroe’s Secretary of State, and his election as the sixth President...

Nowadays transatlantic crossings by America’s First Ladies are commonplace and routine. Present travel between the United States and Europe is by means of safe and comfortable jet airlines. However, two hundred years ago, travel was by ship, was slow, extremely uncomfortable, dangerous and very unsafe. Three future First Ladies, Abigail Adams,...

Louisa Caroline Johnson wed John Quincy Adams in the All Hallows-by-the-Tower Anglican Church in London on July 26, 1797. It would be the only marriage for this future President and First Lady. John Quincy Adams was the accomplished son of the sitting United States President John Adams, his father. The groom...

I apologize for the absence of blog entries during the past three weeks. I was away from my desk top, experiencing three historical European capital cities: Berlin, Vienna and Rome. In a change of perspective, the next three blog posts will relate the experiences of American presidents, either before of during...