First Ladies of the White House

The woman called the First Lady of the United States is usually the wife of the President. If the President is a widower or not married, he chooses a female relative to fill that role. The First Lady supports her husband in every event and usually takes trips with him to foreign countries to visit other heads of state. The duties of the First Lady are not established in writing, however.

Each First Lady decides what she wants to be involved in during her time at the White House. Sometimes she has a specific charity or favorite program into which she wants to put her efforts. She is always the hostess of the White House and is in charge of all ceremonial functions. Some First Ladies have redecorated the White House.

George Washington was the first President. At first, his wife was called Lady Washington. Later, the wives were called Lady Presidentress or Mrs. President. President Zachary Taylor gave a eulogy to Dolley Madison wife of President James Madison. He used the term First Lady when referring to her. The phrase is an English translation of the Italian phrase prima donna referring to the leading female role in an opera. Dolley Madison was the first woman to be given the title of First Lady.

There are many interesting facts about the lives of First Ladies. Both Abigail Adams and Barbara Bush were wives and mothers of a President of the United States. Edith Galt Wilson, second wife of Woodrow Wilson was a descendent of Pocahontas. Louisa Catherine Johnson, wife of John Quincy Adams was born in England. She was the only First Lady not born in the United States. Nancy Reagan was a Hollywood actress before she became a First Lady.

Anna Harrison was the oldest First Lady. The youngest was Frances Cleveland, wife of Grover Cleveland. She also was the first to marry and give birth in the White House. Martha Jefferson, Rachel Jackson, Hannah Van Buren and Ellen Arthur died before their husbands were elected. Ellen Wilson, Caroline Harrison and Letitia Tyler died in the White House.

Lou Hoover and President Herbert Hoover could speak Mandarin fluently and used this language to speak when they didn't want to be heard by others. Lucy Hayes was the first President's wife to have graduated from college. Helen Herron Taft was the first to publish her autobiography.

Jacqueline Kennedy, the wife of President John F. Kennedy, became First Lady on January 20, 1961. She supported her husband in social events but wasn't interested in politics. She was very popular with the American people, partly because of her striking fashion sense and her quiet nature. People copied her hats, hairstyle and suits. She displayed elegant manners.

Jacqueline Kennedy set up the White House Historical Association. She wanted to refurbish the White House. After the completion of the work, Americans took a televised tour of the new White House in February 1962. She felt very strongly about her loyalty to her family and to the United States. She called the White House and her family Camelot because of her hopes for the country under her husband's leadership.

On a trip to Dallas in November 1963, as the President and his wife were driving in a motorcade through the streets in an open car, a gunman shot and killed Jackie's husband. Her great dignity throughout the entire event impressed many people. She stood beside Vice-President Lyndon Johnson in a bloodstained pink suit while he took the oath of office to become President. This pink suit became the image of Jacqueline Kennedy.

A: Patricia
B: Barbara
C: Dolley
D: Lillian

A: Martha Jefferson
B: Barbara Bush
C: Michelle Obama
D: Hilary Clinton

A: President Zachary Taylor
B: President Woodrow Wilson
C: President George Washington
D: President Thomas Jefferson

A: Rachel Jackson
B: Ellen Arthur
C: Barbara Bush
D: Lou Hoover

A: Rachel Jackson
B: Jacqueline Kennedy
C: Martha Washington
D: Lucy Hayes

A: Lady Washington
B: Lady of the White House
C: Mistress of the White House
D: Lady President

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