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  Wikipedia: First Lady of the United States

Wikipedia: First Lady of the United States
First Lady of the United States
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

"First Lady of the United States" is the unofficial title of the hostess of the White House. The position is traditionally filled by the wife of the President of the United States, and the title is sometimes taken to apply only to the wife of a sitting president. The current First Lady is Laura Welch Bush. Some of the more notable former First Ladies include Martha Washington, Dolley Madison, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Hillary Clinton. Several women, other than wives of presidents, have been recognized as being a "First Lady". This situation has arisen due to the President being a bachelor or widower, when the position was then filled by a female relative or friend of the President. Less commonly, the First Lady has delegated her duties to another woman when she is unable or unwilling to fulfill them herself. (The government jargon that often acronymizes the President of the United States as "POTUS" similarly applies "FLOTUS" to the First Lady.)

The title was used as early as 1849 when Dolley Madison was eulogized as "America's First Lady", but did not gain wider recognition until 1877 when newspaper journalist Mary Clemmer Ames used it while reporting on the inauguration of Rutherford B. Hayes.

The First Lady is not an elected position, carries no official duties, and brings no salary. Nonetheless, she attends many official ceremonies and functions of state either along with or in place of the President. Furthermore, many have taken an active role in campaigning for the President they are associated with. Hillary Rodham Clinton took the role one step further when she was, for a time, given a formal job in the Clinton administration to develop reforms to the health care system.

The wife of the president is referred to by her married name--the couple is formally referred to as, for example, "The President and Mrs. Washington."

The term is also used to describe the wife of other government officials, or for a woman who has acted as a leading symbol for some activity (as in "First Lady of California" or "First Lady of Jazz" respectively).

The wife of the Vice President of the United States has been referred to by the colloquial term, the Second Lady of the United States.

First Ladies of the United States

The following women have been recognized by The National First Ladies' Library as "First Lady":

{| border=1 style="border-collapse: collapse;" |-bgcolor=cccccc ! First Lady ! Relation to President ! From ! To |- | Martha Dandridge Custis Washington | wife of George Washington | April 30, 1789 | March 4, 1797 |- | Abigail Smith Adams | wife of John Adams | March 4, 1797 | March 4, 1801 |- | Martha Jefferson Randolph | daughter of widower Thomas Jefferson | March 4, 1801 | March 4, 1809 |- | Dolley Payne Todd Madison | friend of widower Thomas Jefferson | March 4, 1801 | March 4, 1809 |- | Dolley Payne Todd Madison | wife of James Madison | March 4, 1809 | March 4, 1817 |- | Elizabeth Kortwright Monroe | wife of James Monroe | March 4, 1817 | March 4, 1825 |- | Louisa Catherine Johnson Adams | wife of John Quincy Adams | March 4, 1825 | March 4, 1829 |- | Emily Tennessee Donelson | niece of widower Andrew Jackson | March 4, 1829 | March 4, 1837 |- | Sarah Yorke Jackson | daughter-in-law of widower Andrew Jackson | March 4, 1829 | March 4, 1837 |- | Angelica Singleton Van Buren | daughter-in-law of widower Martin Van Buren | March 4, 1837 | March 4, 1841 |- | Anna Tuthill Symmes Harrison | absent wife of short-termed William Henry Harrison | March 4, 1841 | April 4, 1841 |- | Jane Irwin Harrison | daughter-in-law of short-termed William Henry Harrison | March 4, 1841 | April 4, 1841 |- | Letitia Christian Tyler | first wife of John Tyler | April 4, 1841 | September 10, 1842 |- | Priscilla Cooper Tyler | daughter-in-law of widower John Tyler | September 10, 1842 | June 26, 1844 |- | Julia Gardiner Tyler | second wife of John Tyler | June 26, 1844 | March 4, 1845 |- | Sarah Childress Polk | wife of James Knox Polk | March 4, 1845 | March 4, 1849 |- | Margaret Mackall Smith Taylor | wife of Zachary Taylor | March 4, 1849 | July 9, 1850 |- | Abigail Powers Fillmore | wife of Millard Fillmore | July 9, 1850 | March 4, 1853 |- | Jane Means Appleton Pierce | wife of Franklin Pierce | March 4, 1853 | March 4, 1857 |- | Harriet Rebecca Lane | niece of bachelor James Buchanan | March 4, 1857 | March 4, 1861 |- | Mary Todd Lincoln | wife of Abraham Lincoln | March 4, 1861 | April 15, 1865 |- | Eliza McCardle Johnson | wife of Andrew Johnson | April 15, 1865 | March 4, 1869 |- | Julia Dent Grant | wife of Ulysses S. Grant | March 4, 1869 | March 4, 1877 |- | Lucy Ware Webb Hayes | wife of Rutherford B. Hayes | March 4, 1877 | March 4, 1881 |- | Lucretia Rudolph Garfield | wife of James A. Garfield | March 4, 1881 | September 19, 1881 |- | Mary Arthur McElroy | sister of widower Chester Alan Arthur | September 19, 1881 | March 4, 1885 |- | Rose Elizabeth Cleveland | sister of bachelor Grover Cleveland | March 4, 1885 | June 22, 1886 |- | Frances Folsom Cleveland | wife of Grover Cleveland | June 22, 1886 | March 4, 1887 |- | Caroline Lavinia Scott Harrison | wife of Benjamin Harrison | March 4, 1887 | October 25, 1892 |- | Mary Harrison McKee | daughter of widower Benjamin Harrison | October 25, 1892 | March 4, 1893 |- | Frances Folsom Cleveland | wife of Grover Cleveland | March 4, 1893 | March 4, 1897 |- | Ida Saxton McKinley | wife of William McKinley | March 4, 1897 | September 14, 1901 |- | Edith Kermit Carow Roosevelt | second wife of Theodore Roosevelt | September 14, 1901 | March 4, 1909 |- | Helen Herron Taft | wife of William Howard Taft | March 4, 1909 | March 4, 1913 |- | Ellen Louise Axson Wilson | first wife of Woodrow Wilson | March 4, 1913 | August 6, 1914 |- | Edith Bolling Galt Wilson | second wife of Woodrow Wilson | December 18, 1915 | March 4, 1921 |- | Florence Kling Harding | wife of Warren G. Harding | March 4, 1921 | August 3, 1923 |- | Grace Anna Goodhue Coolidge | wife of Calvin Coolidge | August 3, 1923 | March 4, 1929 |- | Lou Henry Hoover | wife of Herbert Hoover | March 4, 1929 | March 4, 1933 |- | Anna Eleanor Roosevelt | wife of Franklin Delano Roosevelt | March 4, 1933 | April 12, 1945 |- | Elizabeth Virginia Wallace Truman | wife of Harry S. Truman | April 12, 1945 | January 20, 1953 |- | Mary "Mamie" Geneva Doud Eisenhower | wife of Dwight D. Eisenhower | January 20, 1953 | January 20, 1961 |- | Jacqueline Lee Bouvier Kennedy | wife of John F. Kennedy | January 20, 1961 | November 22, 1963 |- | Claudia Alta Taylor "Lady Bird" Johnson | wife of Lyndon B. Johnson | November 22, 1963 | January 20, 1969 |- | Thelma "Patricia" Ryan Nixon | wife of Richard Milhous Nixon | January 20, 1969 | August 8, 1974 |- | Elizabeth Bloomer "Betty" Ford | wife of Gerald R. Ford | August 8, 1974 | January 20, 1977 |- | Rosalynn Smith Carter | wife of Jimmy Carter | January 20, 1977 | January 20, 1981 |- | Nancy Davis Reagan | wife of Ronald Reagan | January 20, 1981 | January 20, 1989 |- | Barbara Pierce Bush | wife of George H. W. Bush | January 20, 1989 | January 20, 1993 |- | Hillary Rodham Clinton | wife of Bill Clinton | January 20, 1993 | January 20, 2001 |- | Laura Welch Bush | wife of George W. Bush | January 20, 2001 | Present |- |}

The following women are known to have acted as hostess on behalf of the First Lady when she was otherwise unable or unwilling:

{| border=1 style="border-collapse: collapse;" |-bgcolor=cccccc ! First Lady ! Relation to President ! From ! To |- | Maria Jefferson Eppes | daughter of widower Thomas Jefferson | | |- | Eliza Monroe Hay | daughter of James Monroe | | |- | Letitia Tyler Semple | daughter of widower John Tyler | | |- | Mary Elizabeth Taylor Bliss | daughter of Zachary Taylor | | |- | Mary Abigail Fillmore | daughter of Millard Fillmore | | |- | Martha Johnson Patterson | daughter of Andrew Johnson | | |- | Jennie Hobart | wife of William McKinley's vice president, Garret Hobart | | |- | Helen Taft Manning | daughter of William Howard Taft | | |- | Margaret Woodrow Wilson | daughter of widower Woodrow Wilson | | |- | Helen Woodrow Bones | cousin of widower Woodrow Wilson | | |- | Chelsea Victoria Clinton | daughter of Bill Clinton | | |- |}

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 
Modified by Geona