List of First Ladies of the United States

Last updated

First Lady of the
United States of America
Melania Trump Official White House Portrait.jpg
Incumbent
Melania Trump

since January 20, 2017
Style Mrs. Trump (informal)
Madam First Lady (formal)
Residence White House
Inaugural holder Martha Washington
Website First Ladies

The First Lady of the United States is the hostess of the White House. The position is traditionally filled by the wife of the President of the United States, but, on occasion, the title has been applied to women who were not presidents’ wives, such as when the president was a bachelor or widower, or when the wife of the president was unable to fulfill the duties of the First Lady herself. The First Lady is not an elected position; it carries no official duties and receives no salary. Nonetheless, she attends many official ceremonies and functions of state either along with or in place of the president. Traditionally, the First Lady does not hold outside employment while occupying the office. [1] She has her own staff, including the White House Social Secretary, the Chief of Staff, the Press Secretary, the Chief Floral Designer, and the Executive Chef. The Office of the First Lady is also in charge of all social and ceremonial events of the White House, and is a branch of the Executive Office of the President.

First Lady of the United States Hostess of the White House, usually the wife of the President of the United States

The First Lady of the United States (FLOTUS) is the title held by the hostess of the White House, usually the wife of the President of the United States, concurrent with the President's term in office. Although the First Lady's role has never been codified or officially defined, she figures prominently in the political and social life of the nation. Since the early 20th century, the First Lady has been assisted by official staff, now known as the Office of the First Lady and headquartered in the East Wing of the White House.

White House Official residence and workplace of the President of the United States

The White House is the official residence and workplace of the President of the United States. It is located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C. and has been the residence of every U.S. President since John Adams in 1800. The term "White House" is often used as a metonym for the president and his advisers.

President of the United States Head of state and of government of the United States

The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the United States of America. The president directs the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces.

Contents

There have been total of fifty-three First Ladies including forty-two official and eleven acting, within forty-five First Ladyships. This discrepancy exists because some presidents had multiple first ladies. Following Donald Trump's inauguration on January 20, 2017, his wife, Melania Trump, became the 42nd official First Lady, succeeding Michelle Obama, wife of former President Barack Obama.

Donald Trump 45th and current president of the United States

Donald John Trump is the 45th and current president of the United States. Before entering politics, he was a businessman and television personality.

Inauguration of Donald Trump 58th United States presidential inauguration

The inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States marked commencement of the four-year term of Donald Trump as President and Mike Pence as Vice President. An estimated 300,000 to 600,000 people attended the public ceremony held on Friday, January 20, 2017, on the West Front of the United States Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.

Melania Trump First Lady of the United States

Melania Trump is a Slovene-born American former fashion model and the current First Lady of the United States. She is married to Donald Trump, the 45th U.S. president.

There are four living former First Ladies: Rosalynn Carter, married to Jimmy Carter; Hillary Clinton, married to Bill Clinton; Laura Bush, married to George W. Bush, and Michelle Obama, married to Barack Obama. The first First Lady was Martha Washington, married to George Washington. Presidents John Tyler and Woodrow Wilson had two official First Ladies; both remarried during their presidential tenures. The wives of four Presidents died before their husbands were sworn into office but are still considered First Ladies by the White House and National First Ladies' Library: Martha Wayles Skelton, married to Thomas Jefferson; [2] [3] Rachel Jackson, married to Andrew Jackson; [4] [5] Hannah Van Buren, married to Martin Van Buren; [6] [7] and Ellen Lewis Herndon Arthur, married to Chester A. Arthur. [8] [9] One woman who was not married to a President is still considered an official First Lady: Harriet Lane, niece of bachelor James Buchanan. The other non-spousal relatives who served as White House hostesses are not recognized by the First Ladies' Library.

Rosalynn Carter Wife of the 39th President of the United States, Jimmy Carter

Eleanor Rosalynn Carter is an American who served as First Lady of the United States from 1977 to 1981, as the wife of President Jimmy Carter. For decades, she has been a leading advocate for numerous causes. Carter was politically active during her White House years, sitting in on Cabinet meetings. She was her husband's closest adviser. She also served as an envoy abroad, particularly in Latin America.

Jimmy Carter 39th president of the United States

James Earl Carter Jr. is an American politician and philanthropist who served as the 39th president of the United States from 1977 to 1981. A Democrat, he previously served as a Georgia state senator from 1963 to 1967 and as the 76th governor of Georgia from 1971 to 1975. After his presidency, Carter has remained active in the private sector; in 2002, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in co-founding the Carter Center.

Hillary Clinton 67th United States Secretary of State

Hillary Diane Clinton is an American politician, diplomat, lawyer, writer and public speaker. She was the First Lady of the United States from 1993 to 2001, before serving as a United States Senator from New York from 2001 to 2009 and as the 67th United States Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013. Clinton was the Democratic Party's nominee for President of the United States in the 2016 election, the first woman nominated by a major U.S. political party.

In 2007, the United States Mint began releasing a set of half-ounce $10 gold coins under the First Spouse Program with engravings of portraits of the First Ladies on the obverse. [10] When a President served without a spouse, a gold coin was issued that bears an obverse image emblematic of Liberty as depicted on a circulating coin of that era and a reverse image emblematic of themes of that President's life. This is true for the coins for Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren, and James Buchanan's First Ladies, but not the coin for Chester A. Arthur's First Lady, which instead depicts suffragette Alice Paul. [11]

United States Mint produces circulating coinage for the United States

The United States Mint is a unit of the Department of Treasury responsible for producing coinage for the United States to conduct its trade and commerce, as well as controlling the movement of bullion. It does not produce paper money; that responsibility belongs to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. The Mint was created in Philadelphia in 1792, and soon joined by other centers, whose coins were identified by their own mint marks. There are currently four active coin-producing mints: Philadelphia, Denver, San Francisco, and West Point.

Liberty (goddess) the personification of the concept of Liberty

Liberty is a term in English for personifications of the concept of liberty or of women depicted as its goddess. Examples include Marianne, the national personification of the French Republic and its values of Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité, the female Liberty portrayed on United States coins for well over a century, and many others. These descend from images on ancient Roman coins of the Roman goddess Libertas and from various developments from the Renaissance onwards. The Dutch Maiden was among the first, re-introducing the cap of liberty on a liberty pole featured in many types of image, though not using the Phrygian cap style that became conventional.

Suffragette member of the Womans Social and Political Union who advocated for womens right to vote

A suffragette was a member of militant women's organisations in the early 20th century who, under the banner "Votes for Women", fought for the right to vote in public elections, known as women's suffrage. The term refers in particular to members of the British Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU), a women-only movement founded in 1903 by Emmeline Pankhurst, which engaged in direct action and civil disobedience. In 1906, a reporter writing in the Daily Mail coined the term 'suffragette' for the WSPU, from suffragist, to belittle the women advocating women's suffrage. The militants embraced the new name, even adopting it for use as the title of the newspaper published by the WSPU.

List of First Ladies of the United States

This list included all persons who served as First Ladies, regardless of whether they were married to the incumbent President or not, as well as persons who are considered to have acted as First Lady by the official White House website and the White House Historical Association.

White House Historical Association

The White House Historical Association, founded in 1961 through efforts of First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, is a private, non-profit organization with a mission to enhance the public's understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment of the White House, the official home and principal workplace of the President of the United States.

POTUS
No.

PortraitFirst Lady
(Maiden name)
TenureAge at tenure startPresident
(Husband, unless noted)
1 Martha-Washington-by-Andrews.jpg Martha Dandridge
June 13, 1731 – May 22, 1802
(aged 70)

[12] [13]
April 30, 1789

March 4, 1797
57 years, 321 days Washington
m. January 6, 1759
2 Abigail Adams.jpg Abigail Smith
November 22, 1744 – October 28, 1818
(aged 73)

[14] [15]
March 4, 1797

March 4, 1801
52 years, 102 days J. Adams
m. October 25, 1764
3 Martha Jefferson Randolph portrait.jpg Martha Jefferson
September 27, 1772 – October 10, 1836
(aged 64)

[2] [3]
March 4, 1801

March 4, 1809
28 years, 158 days Jefferson
Daughter
[16]
4 Dolley Madison.jpg Dolley Payne
May 20, 1768 – July 12, 1849
(aged 81)

[17] [18]
March 4, 1809

March 4, 1817
40 years, 288 days Madison
m. September 14, 1794
5 Elizabeth Monroe.jpg Elizabeth Kortright
June 30, 1768 – September 23, 1830
(aged 62)

[19] [20]
March 4, 1817

March 4, 1825
48 years, 247 days Monroe
m. February 16, 1786
6 Louisa Adams.jpg Louisa Catherine Johnson
Birth country: Union flag 1606 (Kings Colors).svg  Great Britain
February 12, 1775 – May 15, 1852
(aged 77)

[21] [22]
March 4, 1825

March 4, 1829
50 years, 20 days J. Q. Adams
m. July 26, 1797
7 Emily Donelson.jpg Emily Donelson

June 1, 1807 – December 19, 1836
(aged 29)

[23]

March 4, 1829

November 26, 1834
21 years, 276 days Jackson
Niece
Sarah Yorke Jackson (1).jpg Sarah Yorke Jackson

July 16, 1803 – August 23, 1887
(aged 84)

[24]

November 26, 1834

March 4, 1837
31 years, 133 days Jackson
Daughter-in-law
8VacantMarch 4, 1837

November 27, 1838
Vacant Van Buren
Widower
Angelica Singleton.jpg Sarah Angelica Singleton
February 13, 1818 – December 29, 1877
(aged 59)

[6] [7]
November 27, 1838

March 4, 1841
20 years, 287 days Van Buren
Daughter-in-law
9 Anna Symmes Harrison.jpg Anna Tuthill Symmes
July 25, 1775 – February 25, 1864
(aged 88)

[25] [26]
March 4, 1841

April 4, 1841
65 years, 222 days W. H. Harrison
m. November 22, 1795
Harrison jane.jpg Jane Irwin Harrison
July 23, 1804 – May 11, 1846
(aged 41)

[26]
March 4, 1841

April 4, 1841
36 years, 224 days W. H. Harrison
Daughter-in-law
10 Letitia Tyler2.jpg Letitia Christian
November 12, 1790 – September 10, 1842
(aged 51)

[27] [28]
April 4, 1841

September 10, 1842
50 years, 143 days Tyler
m. (1813-03-29)March 29, 1813
Elizabeth Priscilla Cooper Tyler.jpg Elizabeth Priscilla Cooper
June 14, 1816 – December 29, 1889
(aged 73)

[29]
September 10, 1842

June 26, 1844
26 years, 88 days Tyler
Daughter-in-law
Julia Tyler.jpg Julia Gardiner
May 4, 1820 – July 10, 1889
(aged 69)

[30] [31]
June 26, 1844

March 4, 1845
24 years, 53 days Tyler
m. June 26, 1844
President Tyler remarried
during term
11 Polk sarah.jpg Sarah Childress
September 4, 1803 – August 14, 1891
(aged 87)

[32] [33]
March 4, 1845

March 4, 1849
41 years, 181 days Polk
m. January 1, 1824
12 Margaret Taylor.jpg Margaret Mackall Smith
September 21, 1788 – August 14, 1852
(aged 63)

[34] [35]
March 4, 1849

July 9, 1850
60 years, 164 days Taylor
m. June 21, 1810
13 AFillmore.jpeg Abigail Powers
March 13, 1798 – March 30, 1853
(aged 55)

[36] [37]
July 9, 1850

March 4, 1853
52 years, 118 days Fillmore
m. February 5, 1826
14 JanePierceSeated.jpg Jane Means Appleton
March 12, 1806 – December 2, 1863
(aged 57)

[38] [39]
March 4, 1853

March 4, 1857
46 years, 357 days Pierce
m. November 19, 1834
15 Harriet Lane.jpg Harriet Rebecca Lane
May 9, 1830 – July 3, 1903
(aged 73)

[40] [41]
March 4, 1857

March 4, 1861
26 years, 299 days Buchanan
Niece
16 Mary Todd Lincoln2crop.jpg Mary Ann Todd
December 13, 1818 – July 16, 1882
(aged 63)

[42] [43]
March 4, 1861

April 15, 1865
42 years, 81 days Lincoln
m. November 4, 1842
17 Mrs-E-Johnson.jpg Eliza McCardle
October 4, 1810 – January 15, 1876
(aged 65)

[44] [45]
April 15, 1865

March 4, 1869
54 years, 193 days A. Johnson
m. May 17, 1827
18 Julia Dent Grant.jpg Julia Boggs Dent
January 26, 1826 – December 14, 1902
(aged 76)

[46] [47]
March 4, 1869

March 4, 1877
43 years, 37 days Grant
m. August 22, 1848
19 Lucy Hayes.jpg Lucy Ware Webb
August 28, 1831 – June 25, 1889
(aged 57)

[48] [49]
March 4, 1877

March 4, 1881
45 years, 188 days Hayes
m. December 30, 1852
20 Lucretia Garfield - Brady-Handy.jpg Lucretia Rudolph
April 19, 1832 – March 14, 1918
(aged 85)

[50] [51]
March 4, 1881

September 19, 1881
48 years, 319 days Garfield
m. November 11, 1858
21 Arthur mcelroy mary.jpg Mary Arthur McElroy
July 5, 1841 – January 8, 1917
(aged 75)

[52]
September 19, 1881

March 4, 1885
40 years, 76 days Arthur
Sister
22 Rose Cleveland.jpg Rose Elizabeth Cleveland
June 13, 1846 – November 22, 1918
(aged 72)

[53]
March 4, 1885

June 2, 1886
38 years, 264 days Cleveland
Sister
Zorn-Motstaende side Mrs Frances Cleveland.jpg Frances Clara Folsom
July 21, 1864 – October 29, 1947
(aged 83)

[54] [55]
June 2, 1886

March 4, 1889
21 years, 316 days Cleveland
m. June 2, 1886
Married in the White House
23 Caroline Harrison.jpg Caroline Lavinia Scott
October 1, 1832 – October 25, 1892
(aged 60)

[56] [57]
March 4, 1889

October 25, 1892
56 years, 154 days B. Harrison
m. October 20, 1853
Mary Harrison McKee.jpg Mary Scott Harrison
April 3, 1858 – October 28, 1930
(aged 72)

[57]
October 25, 1892

March 4, 1893
34 years, 205 days B. Harrison
Daughter
24 Zorn-Motstaende side Mrs Frances Cleveland.jpg Frances Clara Folsom
July 21, 1864 – October 29, 1947
(aged 83)

[54] [55]
March 4, 1893

March 4, 1897
28 years, 226 days Cleveland
m. June 2, 1886
25 Ida McKinley.jpg Ida Saxton
June 8, 1847 – May 26, 1907
(aged 59)

[58] [59]
March 4, 1897

September 14, 1901
49 years, 269 days McKinley
m. January 25, 1871
26 Edith Roosevelt.jpg Edith Kermit Carow
August 6, 1861 – September 30, 1948
(aged 87)

[60] [61]
September 14, 1901

March 4, 1909
40 years, 39 days T. Roosevelt
m. December 2, 1886
27 HelenTaft.jpg Helen Louise Herron
June 2, 1861 – May 22, 1943
(aged 81)

[62] [63]
March 4, 1909

March 4, 1913
47 years, 275 days Taft
m. June 19, 1886
28 ELWilson.jpg Ellen Louise Axson
May 15, 1860 – August 6, 1914
(aged 54)

[64] [65]
March 4, 1913

August 6, 1914
52 years, 293 days Wilson
m. June 24, 1885
Margaret Woodrow Wilson 1912.jpg Margaret Woodrow Wilson
April 16, 1886 – February 12, 1944
(aged 57)

[65]
August 6, 1914

December 18, 1915
28 years, 112 days Wilson
Daughter
Edith Wilson cropped 2.jpg Edith Bolling
October 15, 1872 – December 28, 1961
(aged 89)

[66] [67]
December 18, 1915

March 4, 1921
43 years, 64 days Wilson
m. December 18, 1915
President Wilson remarried
during first term
29 Florence Kling Harding-01.jpg Florence Mabel Kling
August 15, 1860 – November 21, 1924
(aged 64)

[68] [69]
March 4, 1921

August 2, 1923
60 years, 201 days Harding
m. July 8, 1891
30 Grace Coolidge 1924.jpg Grace Anna Goodhue
January 3, 1879 – July 8, 1957
(aged 78)

[70] [71]
August 2, 1923

March 4, 1929
44 years, 211 days Coolidge
m. October 4, 1905
31 Louhenryhoover.jpg Lou Henry
March 29, 1874 – January 7, 1944
(aged 69)

[72] [73]
March 4, 1929

March 4, 1933
54 years, 340 days Hoover
m. February 10, 1899
32 Eleanor Roosevelt cph.3b16000.jpg Anna Eleanor Roosevelt
October 11, 1884 – November 7, 1962
(aged 78)

[74] [75]
March 4, 1933

April 12, 1945
48 years, 144 days F. D. Roosevelt
m. March 17, 1905
33 Bess Truman cropped.jpg Elizabeth Virginia "Bess" Wallace
February 13, 1885 – October 18, 1982
(aged 97)

[76] [77]
April 12, 1945

January 20, 1953
60 years, 58 days Truman
m. June 28, 1919
34 Mamie Eisenhower color photo portrait, White House, May 1954.jpg Mamie Geneva Doud
November 14, 1896 – November 1, 1979
(aged 82)

[78] [79]
January 20, 1953

January 20, 1961
56 years, 67 days Eisenhower
m. July 1, 1916
35 Mrs Kennedy in the Diplomatic Reception Room cropped.jpg Jacqueline "Jackie" Lee Bouvier
July 28, 1929 – May 19, 1994
(aged 64)

[80] [81]
January 20, 1961

November 22, 1963
31 years, 176 days Kennedy
m. September 12, 1953
36 Lady Bird Johnson, photo portrait, standing at rear of White House, color, crop.jpg Claudia Alta "Lady Bird" Taylor
December 22, 1912 – July 11, 2007
(aged 94)

[82] [83]
November 22, 1963

January 20, 1969
50 years, 335 days L. B. Johnson
m. November 17, 1934
37 PatNixon.jpg Thelma "Pat" Catherine Ryan
March 16, 1912 – June 22, 1993
(aged 81)

[84] [85]
January 20, 1969

August 9, 1974
56 years, 310 days Nixon
m. June 21, 1940
38 Betty Ford, official White House photo color, 1974.jpg Elizabeth "Betty" Ann Bloomer
April 8, 1918 – July 8, 2011
(aged 93)

[86] [87]
August 9, 1974

January 20, 1977
56 years, 123 days Ford
m. October 15, 1948
39 Rose Carter, official color photo, 1977-cropped.jpg Eleanor Rosalynn Smith
Born (1927-08-18) August 18, 1927 (age 91)
[88] [89]
January 20, 1977

January 20, 1981
49 years, 155 days Carter
m. July 7, 1946
40 Nancy Reagan.jpg Nancy Davis
July 6, 1921 – March 6, 2016
(aged 94)

[90] [91]
January 20, 1981

January 20, 1989
59 years, 203 days Reagan
m. March 4, 1952
41 Barbara Bush portrait.jpg Barbara Pierce
June 8, 1925 – April 17, 2018
(aged 92)

[92] [93]
January 20, 1989

January 20, 1993
63 years, 226 days G. H. W. Bush
m. January 6, 1945
42 Hillary Clinton in 1992.jpg Hillary Diane Rodham
Born (1947-10-26) October 26, 1947 (age 71)
[94] [95]
January 20, 1993

January 20, 2001
45 years, 86 days Clinton
m. October 11, 1975
43 Laura Bush portrait.jpg Laura Lane Welch
Born (1946-11-04) November 4, 1946 (age 72)
[96] [97]
January 20, 2001

January 20, 2009
54 years, 77 days G. W. Bush
m. November 5, 1977
44 Michelle Obama 2013 official portrait.jpg Michelle LaVaughn Robinson
Born (1964-01-17) January 17, 1964 (age 55)
[98] [99]
January 20, 2009

January 20, 2017
45 years, 3 days Obama
m. October 3, 1992
45 Melania Trump official portrait.jpg Melanija Knavs
Birth country: Flag of Yugoslavia (1946-1992).svg  Yugoslavia
(present day Flag of Slovenia.svg  Slovenia)
Born (1970-04-26) April 26, 1970 (age 49)

[100]
January 20, 2017

present
46 years, 269 days Trump
m. January 22, 2005

Other spouses of Presidents of the United States

Certain spouses of Presidents of the United States are not considered First Ladies of the United States.

Four Presidents were widowed prior to their presidencies:

Thomas Jefferson 3rd president of the United States

Thomas Jefferson was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, architect, and Founding Father who served as the third president of the United States from 1801 to 1809. Previously, he had served as the second vice president of the United States from 1797 to 1801. The principal author of the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson was a proponent of democracy, republicanism, and individual rights, motivating American colonists to break from the Kingdom of Great Britain and form a new nation; he produced formative documents and decisions at both the state and national level.

Martha Jefferson First Lady of Virginia, wife of Thomas Jefferson

Martha Skelton Jefferson was the wife of Thomas Jefferson. It was her second marriage. She served as First Lady of Virginia during Thomas' term as Governor from 1779 to 1781. She died in 1782, nineteen years before he was elected President, and forty-three before his passing.

Andrew Jackson 7th president of the United States

Andrew Jackson was an American soldier and statesman who served as the seventh president of the United States from 1829 to 1837. Before being elected to the presidency, Jackson gained fame as a general in the United States Army and served in both houses of Congress. As president, Jackson sought to advance the rights of the "common man" against a "corrupt aristocracy" and to preserve the Union.

Two Presidents were divorced prior to their presidencies:

Two Presidents remarried after their presidencies:

One President was widowed and remarried prior to his presidency:

See also

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Letitia "Letty" Christian Semple was an American society lady, educator, and briefly an unofficial First Lady during her father John Tyler's presidency. The National First Ladies' Library named Semple and her sister-in-law Priscilla Tyler "First ladies who never married presidents". Semple served in this role from March to June 1844.

References

  1. Caroli, Betty Boyd (2003). First Ladies from Martha Washington to Laura Bush. Oxford University Press. p. 200.
  2. 1 2 "Biography of Martha Jefferson". The White House . Retrieved March 11, 2010.
  3. 1 2 "First Lady Biography: Martha Jefferson". National First Ladies' Library . Retrieved March 11, 2010.
  4. "Biography of Rachel Jackson". The White House . Retrieved March 11, 2010.
  5. "First Lady Biography: Rachel Jackson". National First Ladies' Library . Retrieved March 11, 2010.
  6. 1 2 "Biography of Hannah Van Buren". The White House . Retrieved March 11, 2010.
  7. 1 2 "First Lady Biography: Hannah Van Buren". National First Ladies' Library . Retrieved March 11, 2010.
  8. "Biography of Ellen Arthur". The White House . Retrieved January 20, 2009.
  9. "First Lady Biography: Ellen Arthur". National First Ladies' Library . Retrieved January 10, 2009.
  10. "The First Spouse Gold Coins". United States Mint . Retrieved January 10, 2009.
  11. 31 U.S.C. § 5112(o)(3)(D)(i)(II) Denominations, specifications, and design of coins . The First Spouse Gold Coins. Cornell University. Retrieved on January 10, 2009.
  12. "Biography of Martha Washington". The White House . Retrieved March 11, 2010.
  13. "First Lady Biography: Martha Washington". National First Ladies' Library . Retrieved March 11, 2010.
  14. "Biography of Abigail Adams". The White House . Retrieved March 11, 2010.
  15. "First Lady Biography: Abigail Adams". National First Ladies' Library . Retrieved March 11, 2010.
  16. Jefferson's spouse, Martha Jefferson, died before he became President. Their daughter, Martha, is considered de facto First Lady by the White House Historical Association.
  17. "Biography of Dolley Madison". The White House . Retrieved March 11, 2010.
  18. "First Lady Biography: Dolley Madison". National First Ladies' Library . Retrieved March 11, 2010.
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