Abigail Smith Adams, 1797-1801

 

Wife of John Adams

November 11, 1744 - October 28, 1818

 

Became first lady at age 52

 

Courtesy of Library of Congress

 

RETURN TO EXHIBIT

Dolley Payne Todd Madison, 1809-1817

 

Wife of James Madison

May 20, 1768 - July 12, 1849

 

Became first lady at age 40

 

Courtesy of Library of Congress

 

RETURN TO EXHIBIT

Louisa Catherine Johnson Adams, 1825-1829

 

Wife of John Quincy Adams

February 12, 1775 - May 15, 1852

 

Became first lady at age 50

 

Courtesy of Library of Congress

 

RETURN TO EXHIBIT

Sarah Yorke Jackson, 1831-1837

 

Daughter-in-law of Andrew Jackson

July 16, 1803 - August 23, 1887

 

Became first lady at age 31

 

Courtesy of White House Historical Association

(White House Collection)

 

RETURN TO EXHIBIT

Anna Symmes Harrison, 1841

 

Wife of William Henry Harrison

July 25, 1775 - February 25, 1864

 

Became first lady at age 65

 

Courtesy of Library of Congress

 

RETURN TO EXHIBIT

Julia Gardiner Tyler, 1844-1845

 

Second wife of John Tyler

May 4, 1820 - July 10, 1889

 

Became first lady at age 24

 

 

RETURN TO EXHIBIT

Betty Taylor Bliss, 1849-1850

 

Daughter of Zachary Taylor

April 20, 1824 - July 25, 1909

 

Became first lady at age 24

 

 

RETURN TO EXHIBIT

Jane Appleton Pierce, 1853-1857

 

Wife of Franklin Pierce

March 12, 1806 - December 2, 1863

 

Became first lady at age 46

 

Courtesy of Library of Congress

 

RETURN TO EXHIBIT

Mary Todd Lincoln, 1861-1865

 

Wife of Abraham Lincoln

December 13, 1818 - July 16, 1882

 

Became first lady at age 42

 

Courtesy of Library of Congress

 

RETURN TO EXHIBIT

Julia Dent Grant, 1869-1877

 

Wife of Ulysses Grant

January 26, 1826 - December 14, 1902

 

Became first lady at age 43

 

Courtesy of Library of Congress

 

RETURN TO EXHIBIT

Lucretia Rudolph Garfield, 1881

 

Wife of James Garfield

April 19, 1832 - March 14, 1918

 

Became first lady at age 48

 

Courtesy of Library of Congress

 

RETURN TO EXHIBIT

Frances Folsom Cleveland, 1886-1889, 1893-1897

 

Wife of Grover Cleveland

July 21, 1864 - October 29, 1947

 

Became first lady at age 21

 

Courtesy of Library of Congress

 

RETURN TO EXHIBIT

Ida Saxton McKinley, 1897-1901

 

Wife of William McKinley

June 8, 1847 - May 26, 1907

 

Became first lady at age 49

 

Courtesy of Library of Congress

 

RETURN TO EXHIBIT

Helen Herron Taft, 1909-1913

 

Wife of William Taft

June 2, 1861 - May 22, 1943

 

Became first lady at age 47

 

Courtesy of Library of Congress

 

RETURN TO EXHIBIT

Edith Bolling Galt Wilson, 1915-1921

 

Second wife of Woodrow Wilson

October 15, 1872 - December 28, 1961

 

Became first lady at age 43

 

Courtesy of Library of Congress

 

RETURN TO EXHIBIT

Grace Goodhue Coolidge, 1923-1929

 

Wife of Calvin Coolidge

January 3, 1879 - July 8, 1957

 

Became first lady at age 44

 

Courtesy of Library of Congress

 

RETURN TO EXHIBIT

Eleanor Roosevelt, 1933-1945

 

Wife of Franklin Roosevelt

October 11, 1884 - November 7, 1962

 

Became first lady at age 48

 

Courtesy of Library of Congress

 

RETURN TO EXHIBIT

Mamie Doud Eisenhower, 1953-1961

 

Wife of Dwight Eisenhower

November 14, 1896 - November 1, 1979

 

Became first lady at age 56

 

Courtesy of Library of Congress

 

RETURN TO EXHIBIT

Lady Bird Taylor Johnson, 1963-1969

 

Wife of Lyndon Johnson

December 22, 1912 - July 11, 2007

 

Became first lady at age 50

 

Courtesy of Library of Congress

 

RETURN TO EXHIBIT

Betty Bloomer Ford, 1974-1977

 

Wife of Gerald Ford

April 8, 1918 - July 8, 2011

 

Became first lady at age 56

 

Courtesy of Library of Congress

 

RETURN TO EXHIBIT

Nancy Davis Reagan, 1981-1989

 

Wife of Ronald Reagan

July 6, 1921 - March 6, 2016

 

Became first lady at age 59

 

Courtesy of Library of Congress

 

RETURN TO EXHIBIT

Hillary Rodham Clinton, 1993-2001

 

Wife of Bill Clinton

October 26, 1947 -

 

Became first lady at age 45

 

Courtesy of Library of Congress

 

RETURN TO EXHIBIT

Michelle Robinson Obama, 2009-present

 

Wife of Barack Obama

January 17, 1964 -

 

Became first lady at age 45

 

Courtesy of the White House

 

RETURN TO EXHIBIT

Martha Dandridge Custis Washington, 1789-1797

 

Wife of George Washington

June 2, 1731 - May 22, 1802

 

Became first lady at age 57

 

Courtesy of Library of Congress

 

Emily Donelson, 1829-1831

 

Niece of Andrew Jackson

June 1, 1807 - December 19, 1836

 

Became first lady at age 21

 

Courtesy of White House Historical Association

(White House Collection)

 

Martha Jefferson Randolph, 1801-1809

 

Daughter of Thomas Jefferson

September 27, 1772 - October 10, 1836

 

Became first lady at age 28

 

 

 

Angelica Singleton Van Buren, 1839-1841

 

Daughter-in-law of Martin Van Buren

February 13, 1818 - December 29, 1877

 

Became first lady at age 21

 

Courtesy of White House Historical Association

(White House Collection)

 

Elizabeth Kortright Monroe, 1817-1825

 

Wife of James Monroe

June 30, 1768 - September 23, 1830

 

Became first lady at age 48

 

 

Letitia Christian Tyler, 1841-1842

 

First wife of John Tyler

November 12, 1790 - September 10, 1842

 

Became first lady at age 50

 

 

 

RETURN TO EXHIBIT

RETURN TO EXHIBIT

RETURN TO EXHIBIT

RETURN TO EXHIBIT

RETURN TO EXHIBIT

RETURN TO EXHIBIT

Sarah Childress Polk, 1845-1849

 

Wife of James Polk

September 4, 1803 - August 14, 1891

 

Became first lady at age 41

 

Courtesy of Library of Congress

 

Martha Johnson Patterson, 1865-1869

 

Daughter of Andrew Johnson

October 25, 1828 - July 10, 1901

 

Became first lady at age 36

 

Courtesy of  Andrew Johnson National Historic Site,

Greeneville, Tennessee

 

Abigail Powers Fillmore, 1850-1853

 

Wife of Millard Fillmore

March 13, 1798 - March 30, 1853

 

Became first lady at age 52

 

Courtesy of Library of Congress

 

Lucy Webb Hayes, 1877-1881

 

Wife of Rutherford Hayes

August 28, 1831 - June 25, 1889

 

Became first lady at age 45

 

Courtesy of Library of Congress

 

Harriet Lane, 1857-1861

 

Niece of James Buchanan

May 9, 1830 - July 3, 1903

 

Became first lady at age 26

 

Courtesy of Library of Congress

 

Mary Arthur McElroy, 1881-1885

 

Sister of Chester Arthur

July 5, 1841 - January 8, 1917

 

Became first lady at age 40

 

Courtesy of White House Historical Association

(White House Collection)

 

RETURN TO EXHIBIT

RETURN TO EXHIBIT

RETURN TO EXHIBIT

RETURN TO EXHIBIT

RETURN TO EXHIBIT

RETURN TO EXHIBIT

Caroline Scott Harrison, 1889-1892

 

Wife of Benjamin Harrison

October 1, 1832 - October 25, 1892

 

Became first lady at age 56

 

Courtesy of Library of Congress

 

Florence Kling Harding, 1921-1923

 

Wife of Warren Harding

August 15, 1860 - November 21, 1924

 

Became first lady at age 60

 

Courtesy of Library of Congress

 

Edith Carow Roosevelt, 1901-1909

 

Second wife of Theodore Roosevelt

August 6, 1861 - September 30, 1948

 

Became first lady at age 39

 

Courtesy of Library of Congress

 

Lou Henry Hoover, 1929-1933

 

Wife of Herbert Hoover

March 29, 1874 - January 7, 1944

 

Became first lady at age 54

 

Courtesy of Library of Congress

 

Ellen Axson Wilson, 1913-1914

 

First wife of Woodrow Wilson

May 15, 1860 - August 6, 1914

 

Became first lady at age 52

 

Courtesy of Library of Congress

 

Bess Wallace Truman, 1945-1953

 

Wife of Harry Truman

February 13, 1885 - October 18, 1982

 

Became first lady at age 60

 

Courtesy of Library of Congress

 

RETURN TO EXHIBIT

RETURN TO EXHIBIT

RETURN TO EXHIBIT

RETURN TO EXHIBIT

RETURN TO EXHIBIT

RETURN TO EXHIBIT

Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, 1961-1963

 

Wife of John Kennedy

July 28, 1929 - May 19, 1994

 

Became first lady at age 31

 

Courtesy of Library of Congress

 

Barbara Pierce Bush, 1989-1993

 

Wife of George H. W. Bush

June 8, 1925 -

 

Became first lady at age 63

 

Courtesy of Library of Congress

 

Patricia Ryan Nixon, 1969-1974

 

Wife of Richard Nixon

March 16, 1912 - June 22, 1993

 

Became first lady at age 56

 

Courtesy of Library of Congress

 

Laura Welch Bush, 2001-2009

 

Wife of George W. Bush

November 4, 1946 -

 

Became first lady at age 54

 

Courtesy of Library of Congress

 

Rosalynn Smith Carter, 1977-1981

 

Wife of Jimmy Carter

August 18, 1927 -

 

Became first lady at age 49

 

Courtesy of Library of Congress

 

RETURN TO EXHIBIT

RETURN TO EXHIBIT

RETURN TO EXHIBIT

RETURN TO EXHIBIT

RETURN TO EXHIBIT

Who Is a

First Lady?

 

Every president has had an official hostess. If he was a bachelor or widower or if his wife was unable or uninterested, he chose another female family member to preside at his parties and receptions. Daughters, daughters-in-law, nieces, and even family friends have served as the White House hostess. It was not until the mid-19th century that we settled on the unofficial title of "first lady."

 

 

What will happen when the President is a Woman?

 

She will have to reconsider the duties of the first lady and whether she expects her husband, a family member, or others to assume this role in her administration.