The First Ladies

The Position of the First Ladies
This article provides details of the 'First Ladies' of the Presidents of the United States of America. The position as one of the First Ladies is traditionally held by the by the wife of the President of the United States during his term of office. If the President is a bachelor or widower the President traditionally chooses a female relative to undertake the role as First Lady. The same protocol applied if one of the First Ladies was unable to fulfil the role.

The Role of the First Ladies
The role of the First Ladies is unofficial. First Ladies are not elected, they do not receive a salary, neither is the role of the First Lady addressed in the US Constitution.

The Duties of the First Ladies
The duties of the First Ladies have evolved over the years. The main duty of the First Ladies is to act as hostess of the White House, in charge of social and ceremonial events. First Ladies are the most famous women in the country and support charities and causes.

US Presidents Index

The First Ladies aka Firstladies
The position of the First Ladies is to support her husband to ensure the smooth running of the White House. The First Ladies attend to the domestic affairs of the White House and organize and attend official ceremonies and functions of state along with the President. In some non-political circumstances or occasions they may take the place of the president.

Which wives died before their husbands became President?
Martha Jefferson, Rachel Jackson, Hannah Van Buren and Ellen Arthur all died before their husbands became president, and the social role of the first lady was unofficially filled by family and friends.

Which First Ladies were not the Wives of Presidents?
Several women, who were not the wives of the presidents, have served as First Ladies. The names of the First Ladies who were not the wives of presidents were Martha Jefferson Randolph, Emily Donelson, Sarah Yorke Jackson, Angelica Van Buren, Priscilla Cooper Tyler, Harriet Lane, Mary Arthur McElroy, Mary Harrison McKee and Margaret Woodrow Wilson.

The First Ladies - The Title
Why are presidents wives called First Ladies? Following the American War of Independence
(17751783) George Washington became the first President. It was the birth of a new nation and no one was sure how to address his wife, Martha. She was eventually was called "Lady" Washington, but the same title changed over time. First Ladies were addressed as "Mrs. President," and even "Lady Presidentress". The term "First Lady" was coined in 1849 by President Zachary Taylor during his eulogy to Dolley Madison, the wife of President James Madison. The origin of the term is an English translation of the Italian "Prima Donna", the title of the leading female role in an opera. The term "First Lady" has now come to mean the foremost woman or the wife of the president.

How are First Ladies addressed?
First Ladies are addressed as, for instance, the "First Lady Michelle Obama" or "Former First Lady Laura Bush" however, this it is not officially required, nor is it official protocol.

The First Ladies and the Second Ladies
The President's wife, or designated substitute,
is referred to as "First Lady". The wife, or designated substitute, of The Vice President is referred to as the "Second Lady".

The Names of all the First Ladies
This helpful list of all the names of the First Ladies in order with dates and the names of Presidents is a great resource of interesting facts and important information that can be used as a fast reference guide when completing school or college projects and homework. The list of First Ladies are presented in date order according to the order of presidencies, the names of the President, the First Ladies relationships to the Presidents, their date of birth, date of death, date of marriage, number of children and the date the First Ladies entered the White House. The list of First Ladies are as follows (the number of children relate to all the marriages of the First Ladies):

The First Ladies: List of First Ladies in order with important dates

No. - Names of Presidents in order - Names of First Ladies - Relationship to President - Date of Birth - Date of Marriage - Number Children - Date entered White House - Date of Death

1st - George Washington - Martha Custis Washington - Wife - June 2, 1731 - January 6, 1759 - 4 - April 30, 1789 - May 22, 1802

2nd - John Adams - Abigail Adams - Wife - November 11, 1744 - October 25, 1764 - 6 - March 4, 1797 - October 28, 1818

3rd - Thomas Jefferson - Martha Jefferson Randolph - Daughter - September 27, 1772 -  - -March 4, 1801 - October 10, 1836

4th - James Madison - Dolley Todd Madison - Wife - May 20, 1768 - September 14, 1794 - 2 - March 4, 1809 - July 12, 1849

5th - James Monroe - Elizabeth Monroe - Wife - June 30, 1768 - February 16, 1786 - 3 - March 4, 1817 - September 23, 1830

6th - John Quincy Adams - Louisa Catherine Adams - Wife - February 12, 1775 - July 26, 1797 - 5 - March 4, 1825 - May 15, 1852

7th - Andrew Jackson - Emily Donelson - Niece - June 1, 1807 - --March 4, 1829 - December 19, 1836

Andrew Jackson - Sarah Yorke Jackson - Daughter-in-law - July 16, 1803 - --November 26, 1834 - August 23, 1887

8th - Martin Van Buren - Angelica Singleton Van Buren - Daughter-in-law - February 13, 1818 - --January 1, 1839 - December 29, 1877

9th - William Harrison - Anna Harrison - Wife - July 25, 1775 - November 22, 1795 - 10 - March 4, 1841 - February 25, 1864

10th - John Tyler - Letitia Tyler - Wife - 12 November 1790 - March 29, 1813 - 7 - April 4, 1841 - September 10, 1842

John Tyler - Priscilla Cooper Tyler - Daughter-in-law - June 14, 1816 - --September 10, 1842 - December 29, 1889

John Tyler - Julia Gardiner Tyler - Wife - May 4, 1820 - June 26, 1844 - 7 - June 26, 1844 - July 10, 1889

11th - James Knox Polk - Sarah Childress Polk - Wife - September 4, 1803 - January 1, 1824 - 1 - March 4, 1845 - August 14, 1891

12th - Zachary Taylor - Margaret (Peggy) Taylor - Wife - September 21, 1788 - June 21, 1810 - 6 - March 4, 1849 - August 14, 1852

13th - Millard Fillmore - Abigail Fillmore - Wife - March 13, 1798 - February 5, 1826 - 2 - July 9, 1850 - March 30, 1853

14th - Franklin Pierce - Jane Pierce - Wife - March 12, 1806 - November 19, 1834 - 3 - March 4, 1853 - December 2, 1863

15th - James Buchanan - Harriet Lane - Niece - May 9, 1830 - --March 4, 1861 - July 3, 1903

16th - Abraham Lincoln - Mary Todd Lincoln - Wife - December 13, 1818 - November 4, 1842 - 4 - March 4, 1861 - July 16, 1882

17th - Andrew Johnson - Eliza McCardle Johnson - Wife - October 4, 1810 - May 17, 1827 - 5 - April 15, 1865 - January 15, 1876

18th - Ulysses Grant - Julia Boggs Grant - Wife - January 26, 1826 - August 22, 1848 - 4 - March 4, 1869 - December 14, 1902

19th - Rutherford Hayes - Lucy Webb Hayes - Wife - August 28, 1831 - December 30, 1852 - 8 - March 4, 1877 - June 25, 1889

20th - James Garfield - Lucretia Garfield - Wife - April 19, 1832 - November 11, 1858 - 7 - March 4, 1881 - March 14, 1918

21st - Chester Arthur - Mary Arthur McElroy - Sister - July 5, 1841 - --September 19, 1881 - January 8, 1917

22nd - Grover Cleveland - Rose Cleveland - Sister - June 13, 1846 - --March 4, 1893 - November 22, 1918

22nd - Grover Cleveland - Frances Folsom Cleveland - Wife - July 21, 1864 - June 2, 1886 - 2 - June 2, 1886 - October 29, 1947

23rd - Benjamin Harrison - Caroline Lavinia Harrison - Wife - October 1, 1832 - October 20, 1853 - 3 - March 4, 1889 - October 25, 1892

Benjamin Harrison - Mary Harrison McKee - Daughter - April 3, 1858 - --October 25, 1892 - October 28, 1930

24th - Grover Cleveland - Frances Folsom Cleveland - Wife - July 21, 1864 - June 2, 1886 - 2 - March 4, 1893 - October 29, 1947

25th - William McKinley - Ida Saxton McKinley - Wife - June 8, 1847 - January 25, 1871 - 2 - March 4, 1897 - May 26, 1907

26th - Theodore Roosevelt - Edith Kermit Roosevelt - Wife - August 6, 1861 - December 2, 1886 - 5 - September 14, 1901 - September 30, 1948

27th - William Taft - Helen Heron Taft - Wife - June 2, 1861 - June 19, 1886 - 3 - March 4, 1909 - May 22, 1943

28th - Woodrow Wilson - Ellen Axson Wilson - Wife - May 15, 1860 - June 24, 1885 - 3 - March 4, 1913 - August 6, 1914

Woodrow Wilson - Margaret Woodrow Wilson - Daughter - April 16, 1886 - --August 6, 1914 - February 12, 1944

Woodrow Wilson - Edith Galt Wilson - Wife - October 15, 1872 - December 18, 1915 - 0 - December 18, 1915 - December 28, 1961

29th - Warren Harding - Florence Mabel deWolfe Harding - Wife - August 15, 1860 - December 18, 1915 - 1 - March 4, 1921 - November 21, 1924

30th - Calvin Coolidge - Grace Anna Coolidge - Wife - January 3, 1879 - October 4, 1905 - 2 - August 2, 1923 - July 8, 1957

31st - Herbert Hoover - Lou Henry Hoover - Wife - March 29, 1874 - February 10, 1899 - 2 - March 4, 1929 - January 7, 1944

32nd - Franklin Roosevelt - Eleanor Roosevelt - Wife - October 11, 1884 - March 17, 1905 - 5 - March 4, 1933 - November 7, 1962

33rd - Harry Truman - Elizabeth Virginia "Bess" Truman - Wife - February 13, 1885 - June 28, 1919 - 1 - April 12, 1945 - October 18, 1982

34th - Dwight Eisenhower - Mamie Geneva Eisenhower - Wife - November 14, 1896 - July 1, 1916 - 2 - January 20, 1953 - November 1, 1979

35th - John Kennedy - Jacqueline Lee  Bouvier Kennedy - Wife - July 28, 1929 - September 12, 1953 - 2 - January 20, 1961 - May 19, 1994

36th - Lyndon Johnson - Claudia Alta  "Lady Bird" Johnson - Wife - December 22, 1912 - November 17, 1934 - 2 - November 22, 1963 - July 11, 2007

37th - Richard Nixon - Thelma Catherine "Pat" Nixon - Wife - March 16, 1912 - June 21, 1940 - 2 - January 20, 1969 - June 22, 1993

38th - Gerald Ford - Elizabeth Ann Warren "Betty" Ford - Wife - April 8, 1918 - October 15, 1948 - 4 - August 9, 1974 - July 8, 2011

39th - Jimmy Carter - Eleanor Rosalynn Carter - Wife - August 18, 1927 - July 7, 1946 - 4 - January 20, 1977 -

40th - Ronald Reagan - Nancy Davis Reagan - Wife - July 6, 1921 - March 4, 1952 - 2 - January 20, 1981 -

41st - George H Bush - Barbara Bush - Wife - June 8, 1925 - January 6, 1945 - 6 - January 20, 1989 -

42nd - Bill Clinton - Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton - Wife - October 26, 1947 - October 11, 1975 - 1 - January 20, 1993 -

43rd - George W Bush - Laura Lane Bush - Wife - November 4, 1946 - November 5, 1977 - 2 - January 20, 2001 -

44th - Barack Obama - Michelle LaVaughn Obama - Wife - January 17, 1964 - October 3, 1992 - 2 - January 20, 2009 -

List of the First Ladies
The above list of the First Ladies provide facts and dates including the names of the Presidents, the First Ladies relationships, dates of birth, dates of death, dates of marriage, total number of children and the dates the First Ladies entered the White House. Fast, interesting facts about the First Ladies are provided below.

Trivia and Facts about First Ladies
The following fact file contains important facts, trivia and information about the First Ladies of the United States of America.

Trivia and Facts about the First Ladies

First Ladies Fact 1: The First Ladies Abigail Adams and Barbara Bush were both who the wives and mothers of US Presidents.

First Ladies Fact 2: Edith Galt Wilson, the second wife of President Woodrow Wilson, was a descendent of Pocahontas.

First Ladies Fact 3: Caroline Scott Harrison, the wife of President Benjamin Harrison, was a founding member of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

First Ladies Fact 4: One of the campaign slogans of Gerald Ford was "Vote for Betty's Husband."

First Ladies Fact 5: Who was the youngest First Lady? Frances Cleveland. She was also the first first lady to marry and give birth in the White House.

First Ladies Fact 6: Who was the oldest First Lady? Anna Harrison was the oldest of the First Ladies

First Ladies Fact 7: Louisa Catherine Johnson, the wife of President John Quincy Adams was the only First Lady not born in the US. She was born in England.

First Ladies Fact 8: Helen Herron Taft was the first of the First Ladies to publish her autobiography.

First Ladies Fact 9: Hillary Rodham Clinton was the first wife of a President to be elected to the U. S. Senate

First Ladies Fact 10: Louisa Adams, wife of John Quincy Adams, was voted an honorary seat in the House of Representatives.

First Ladies Fact 11: Claudia "Lady Bird" Johnson hired her own chief of staff and press secretary

First Ladies Fact 12: Nancy Reagan was a Hollywood actress before she became one of the most famous of the First Ladies

First Ladies Fact 13: The first African American first lady is Michelle Obama

First Ladies Fact 14: Eleanor Roosevelt became a delegate to the United Nations following the death of her husband

First Ladies Fact 15: Lou Hoover and President Herbert Hoover were both fluent in Mandarin, and would often speak to each other in Chinese to prevent others from eavesdropping on them.

First Ladies Fact 16: Helen Heron Taft "Nellie"  was the only one of the First Ladies to be both first lady and the wife of the chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

First Ladies Fact 17: Lucy Hayes was the first of the First Ladies to have graduated from college.
 

First Ladies Fact 18: The only bachelor president was James Buchanan who asked his niece, Harriet Lane, to serve as first lady

First Ladies Fact 19: The First Ladies Martha Jefferson, Rachel Jackson, Hannah Van Buren and Ellen Arthur all died before their husbands became president

First Ladies Fact 20: Which First Ladies died in the White House? Answer: Ellen Wilson, 1914, Caroline Harrison, 1892, and Letitia Tyler, 1842

Trivia and Facts about the First Ladies

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