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Six United States Presidents entered the White House unmarried; four were widowers - Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren, and Chester Alan Arthur. Two others were bachelors - James Buchanan and Grover Cleveland. Martha Jefferson was the first woman to die before her husband was elected President. Popular media have linked...

Caroline Harrison was the wife of President Benjamin Harrison (1889-1893) who in turn was the grandson of President William Henry Harrison (1841). The later Harrison has the distinction, which probably will remain unique forever, of both defeating and then losing to the same opponent, Democrat Grover Cleveland (1885-1889, 1893-1897). Mrs....

[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...

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...

Sixty-one year old Rachel Jackson, the wife of president-elect Andrew Jackson died at the Jackson estate The Hermitage on December 22, 1828. Andrew Jackson had been elected the United States' seventh president the previous month and would leave shortly to travel to Washington D.C. for his inauguration the beginning of...

Popular media have linked Thomas Jefferson romantically with his light-skinned mixed-race slave Sally Hemings, and have ascribed to him many offspring from this alleged union. Such a coupling remains alleged, and is far from proven. Such speculative scandal has the unfortunate consequence of obscuring the wonderful marriage between the third U.S....

Branded as a bigamist, Rachel Jackson generally shunned the public sphere. Her long marriage to the future president Andrew Jackson bore no conjugal fruit. However, the couple adopted two sons, Andrew, her nephew and Lyncoya, an Indian orphan found during a military campaign. Rachel was busy enough; she raised the...

[caption id="attachment_328" align="alignleft" width="178"] Martha Jefferson[/caption] Martha Wayles married future president Thomas Jefferson on January 1, 1772. Martha was previously wed to Bathurst Skelton, and they had a son, John, who lived for only four years. Bathurst Skelton, the father, lived for a mere two years after the marriage, leaving Martha at...

[caption id="attachment_321" align="alignleft" width="186"] Florence Harding[/caption] The last of the three First Ladies who brought children to their marriage with a future president of the United States was Florence Kling (born 1860). She married Warren G. Harding (born 1865) in 1891. Not only was Florence five years older than her husband...

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_195" align="alignleft" width="192"] Julia Grant[/caption] Julia Dent Grant was the wife of President Ulysses Grant (1869-1877). She was intelligent, but received only the modest schooling afforded nineteenth century women. Mrs. Grant began her memoirs subsequent to her husband’s death (1885), at first reluctantly “to gratify the children’s wishes than my own.,”...

[caption id="attachment_195" align="alignleft" width="192"] Julia Grant[/caption] Eleanor Roosevelt was a very prolific author, and recent presidential wives have put their biographies and reflection into print. Betty Ford wrote two autobiographies, interesting, dramatic and forceful. Rosalynn Carter and all her successors (Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush, Hillary Clinton and Laura Bush) have written...

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...