March is Women’s History Month and with a new first lady headed to the White House, many are speculating about what Melania Trump’s legacy will be.
She is already the first, first lady to speak five languages and the first to immigrate to the U.S. (others were born in what would become the U.S. or born abroad to American parents). She’s also the first, first lady to model nude.
Here are some fascinating fact about other First Ladies throughout our history:
Martha Washington, 1731-1802
George Washington’s wife was the first, first lady
and the first to appear on a U.S. postage stamp.
Mary Lincoln, 1818-1882
Abraham Lincoln’s wife was the first to hold
séances in the White House, to be attacked by
the press for lavish purchases during wartime
and to fight for the abolition of slavery.
Eleanor Roosevelt, 1884-1962
Franklin D. Roosevelt’s wife was the first, first
lady to hold regular press conferences, write a
daily newspaper column and a monthly magazine
column, and host a weekly radio show.
Abigail Adams, 1744-1818 – John Adams’ wife was the first woman to be both
a president’s wife and the mother of a president, and the first to live in the White House.
Louisa Adams, 1775-1852 – John Quincy Adams’ wife was the first, first lady born in a foreign country—England. Her American father worked as the American Consul in London, so American citizenship was her birthright. She played the harp and raised silkworms.
Letitia Tyler, 1790-1842 – John Tyler’s first wife was a stroke victim and the first president’s wife to die in the White House. Tyler eloped with his second wife, Julia (1820-1889), who became the first photographed first lady.
Abigail Fillmore, 1798-1853 – Millard Fillmore’s wife was the first presidential spouse to work and earn a salary before marriage—as a schoolteacher.
Julia Grant, 1826-1902 – Ulysses S. Grant’s wife was the first cross eyed first lady and owned slaves during the Civil War while her husband served as general of the Union Army.
Lucy Hayes, 1831-1889 – Rutherford B. Hayes’ wife was the first to ban all alcoholic beverages from the White House. She also hosted the first Easter Egg Roll on the
White House lawn.
Frances Cleveland, 1864-1947 – Grover Cleveland’s wife was the youngest first
lady—age 21—and the only bride of a president to marry and give birth in the White House.
Caroline Harrison, 1832-1892 – Benjamin Harrison’s wife was the first to use
electricity and have a Christmas tree in the White House.
Helen “Nellie” Taft, 1861-1943 – William Howard Taft’s wife was the first, first lady to own and drive a car, to ride in her husband’s inaugural parade, to support women’s suffrage, to publish her memoirs, to smoke cigarettes, and successfully lobby for
safety standards in federal workplaces.
Florence Harding, 1860-1924 – Warren G. Harding’s wife was first, first lady to vote, fly in an airplane, operate a movie camera, own a radio, and invite movie stars to White House. She also was accused of poisoning her husband who died during his third year in office.
Grace Coolidge, 1879-1957 – Calvin Coolidge’s wife became the first, first lady to speak in sound newsreels.
Lou Hoover, 1874-1944 – Herbert Hoover’s wife was the first woman to graduate from Stanford University with a geology degree. She also spoke Chinese fluently.
Jacqueline Kennedy, 1929-1994 – John F. Kennedy’s wife was the first, first lady to hire a press secretary and a White House curator. She also won an Emmy Award for her
television tour of the White House.
Pat Nixon, 1912-1993 – Richard Nixon’s wife created White House tours for the blind and deaf, and was the first, first lady to wear pants in public.
Betty Ford, 1918-2011 – Gerald Ford’s wife once worked as a professional dancer with the Martha Graham Company. She also was the first and only first lady to found an alcohol and drug treatment center.
Rosalynn Carter, 1927 – Jimmy Carter’s wife was the first to have a VCR in the White House and to keep her own office in the East Wing.
Nancy Reagan, 1921-2016
Ronald Reagan’s wife was the first to appear
in a rock music video with an anti-drug abuse
Barbara Bush, 1925 – George H.W. Bush’s wife is the second first lady to be both the wife and mother of a president, and the only one to write a memoir from her dog’s perspective.
Hillary Clinton, 1947 – Bill Clinton’s wife is the only first lady to be elected to the U.S. Senate, to become secretary of state, and to seek the presidency.
Laura Bush, 1946 – George W. Bush’s wife is the only first lady to give birth to twins.
Michelle Obama, 1964 – Barack Obama’s wife is the first African American First lady.
This list is courtesy of the National First Ladies’ Library.
Visit www.firstladies.org for more information.