23 Little Known Facts About First Ladies of the United States

Little girl playing with dog in autumn woods

1Dolley Madison

Dolley Madison

According to the memoir of a former slave, First Lady Dolley Madison did not save the Lansdowne portrait of George Washington from the British burning it during the War of 1812. Rather, a Frenchman and a gardener saved it, while Dolley just ran off with silver.

2Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt held weekly press conferences and allowed female journalists to attend, forcing many news organizations to hire their first female reporters.

3Lady Bird Johnson

Lady Bird Johnson

Former First Lady, Lady Bird Johnson repeatedly declined the dubious honor of having Austin Town Lake named after her, so the City Council waited until she died and named it after her anyway.

4Rose Cleveland

Rose Cleveland

Rose Cleveland, the U.S. First Lady was a lesbian. She served as the First Lady for her brother who was unmarried. She carried on a relationship for more than 30 years with Evangeline Whipple until Rose died of the Spanish Influenza in 1918.

5Pat Nixon

Pat Nixon

Pat Nixon, the wife of Richard Nixon, was actually named Thelma. She gained the nickname Pat from her father because her birthday was the day before St. Patrick's Day.

6Betty Ford

Betty Ford

First Lady Betty Ford was a supporter of the equal rights amendment (ERA), publicly pro-choice, and a breast cancer survivor who raised awareness about breast cancer as well as alcohol addiction as a result of her own struggle with both conditions.

7Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt

In 1906, Eleanor Roosevelt bought a chicken-wire cage to hang out the window of her New York City townhouse for her first child, Anna, to nap in—a practice known as "airing" for city-dwelling children.

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8Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

During a visit to Egypt in 2012, Hillary Clinton was pelted with tomatoes and shoes, while the protesters chanted "Monica, Monica."

9Jacqueline Kennedy

Jacqueline Kennedy

Jacqueline Kennedy requested an eternal flame for her husband's grave. Later, when a group of Catholic schoolchildren were sprinkling the temporary flame with holy water, the cap came off the bottle and water poured onto the flame, putting it out.

10Martha Washington

Martha Washington

When Martha Washington recalled the two saddest days of her life the first was December 14, 1799, when her husband died. The second was in January 1801 when Thomas Jefferson visited Mount Vernon. "Next to the loss of her husband" Jefferson’s visit was the “most painful occurrence of her life.”

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