List of First Ladies of the United States

White House Lawn Photo by Daniel Schwen

White House Lawn Photo by Daniel Schwen (source)

Some of the women who served as First Lady of the United States didn’t hold the office officially. They were daughters, daughters-in-law, sisters, etc. who stepped in to be a hostess and help to the President when he wasn’t married or was widowed. There were other women who helped when the wife of the President couldn’t perform her duties as hostess, but they aren’t listed here, although I may add them at some point. 

First Ladies
Martha Dandridge Custis Washington (June 2, 1731 – May 22, 1802)
Abigail Smith Adams (November 11,  1744 – October, 28, 1818)
Martha Jefferson Randolph (September 27, 1772 – October 10, 1835) daughter of Thomas Jefferson

Dolley Payne Madison (May 20, 1768 – July 12, 1849)
Dolley Payne Todd: Life Before James Madison
Dolley Madison: Life in Washington City

Elizabeth Kortright Monroe (June 30, 1768 – September 23, 1830)

Louisa Catherine Johnson Adams (February 12, 1775 – May 15, 1852)
Louisa Adams’ Dangerous Journey

Rachel Donelson Robards Jackson (June 15, 1767 – December 22, 1828 ) died after he was elected, but before Andrew Jackson took office
Not Quite First Lady – Rachel Jackson

Emily Donelson (June 1, 1807 – December 19,  1836) Andrew Jackson’s niece
Sarah Yorke Jackson (July 16, 1803 – August 23, 1887) Andrew Jackson’s daughter-in-law
Angelica Singleton Van Buren (February 13, 1818 – December 29, 1877) Martin Van Buren’s daughter-in-law
Anna Tuthill Symmes Harrison (July 25, 1795 – February 25, 1864)
Letitia Christian Tyler (November 12, 1790 – September 10, 1842) died while her husband was in office
Priscilla Cooper Tyler (June 14, 1816 – December 29, 1889) John Tyler’s daughter-in-law
Julia Gardiner Tyler (May 17, 1820 – July 10, 1889) married John Tyler while in office
Sarah Childress Polk (September 4, 1803 – August 14, 1891)
Margaret Mackall Smith Taylor (September 21, 1788 – August 14, 1852)
Abigail Powers Fillmore (March 13, 1798 – March 30, 1853)

Jane Means Applegate Pierce (March 12, 1806 – December 2, 1863)
Jane Pierce – “The Shadow in the White House”

Harriet Lane Johnson (May 9, 1830 – July 3, 1903) niece of James Buchanan
Harriet Lane – The “Democratic Queen”

Mary Todd Lincoln (December 13, 1818 – July 16, 1882)
Eliza McCardle Johnson (October 4, 1810 – January 15, 1876)
Julia Boggs Dent Grant (January 26, 1826 – December 14, 1902)
Lucy Webb Hayes (August 28, 1831 – June 25, 1889)
Lucretia Rudolph Garfield (April 19, 1832 – March 14, 1918)
Mary Arthur McElroy (July 5, 1841 – January 8, 1917) Chester A. Arthur’s sister
Rose Cleveland (June 13, 1846 – November 22, 1917) Grover Cleveland’s sister
Frances Folsom Cleveland Preston (July 21, 1864 – October 29, 1947)
Caroline Lavinia Scott Harrison (October 1, 1832 – October 25, 1892)
Mary Harrison McKee (April 3, 1858 – October 28, 1930) Benjamin Harrison’s daughter
Ida Saxton McKinley (June 8, 1847 – May 26, 1907)

Edith Kermit Carow Roosevelt (August 6, 1861 – September 30, 1948)
Edith Kermit Carow Roosevelt – First Lady

Helen Herron Taft (June 2, 1861 – May 22, 1943)
Nellie Taft, Eliza Scidmore, and Japanese Cherry Trees

Ellen Axson Wilson (May 15, 1860 – August 6, 1914) died while her husband was in office
Margaret Woodrow Wilson (April 15, 1886 – February 12, 1944) Woodrow Wilson’s daughter
Edith Bolling Galt Wilson (October 15, 1872 – December 28, 1961)

Florence Kling Harding (August 15, 1860 – November 21, 1924)
Florence Harding – Wild Child

Grace Goodhue Coolidge (January 3, 1879 – July 8, 1957)

Lou Henry Hoover (March 29, 1874 – January 7, 1944)
Lou Henry Hoover – Herbert’s True Partner

Anna Eleanor Roosevelt Roosevelt (October 11, 1884 – November 7, 1962)
Eleanor Roosevelt –
A Late Bloomer

Marian Anderson, Eleanor Roosevelt, and the DAR
Eleanor and Franklin by Joseph P Nash – A Book Review

Elizabeth “Bess” Virgina Wallace Truman (February 13, 1885 – October 18, 1982)
Bess Truman – Harry’s One True Love

Mamie Geneva Doud Eisenhower (November 14, 1896 – November 1, 1979)
Jacqueline Lee Bouvier Kennedy Onassis (July 28, 1929 – May 19, 1994)
Claudia Alta “Lady Bird” Taylor Johnson (December 22, 1912 – July 11, 2007)
Thelma “Pat” Catherine Ryan Nixon (March 16, 1912 – June 22, 1993)
Elizabeth Ann “Betty” Bloomer Ford (April 8, 1918 – July 8, 2011)
Eleanor Rosalynn Carter (b. August 18, 1927)
Nancy Davis Reagan (b. July 6, 1921)
Barbara Pierce Bush (b. June 8, 1925)
Hillary Rodham Clinton (b. October 26, 1947)
Laura Lane Welch Bush (b. November 4, 1946)
Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama (b. January 17, 1964)

Books about First Ladies
These are books that I have read or used as reference and can recommend.

The Adams Women: Abigail & Louisa Adams, Their Sisters and Daughters by Paul C. Nagel
A Being So Gentle: The Frontier Love Story of Rachel and Andrew Jackson
by Patricia Brady
Bess W. Truman
by Margaret Truman

Edith Kermit Roosevelt: Portrait of a First Lady by Sylvia Jukes Morris
Eleanor and Franklin: The Story of Their Relationship Based on Eleanor Roosevelt’s Private Papers by Joseph P. Lash
Eleanor Roosevelt: Volume I, 1884 – 1933 by Blanche Wiesen Cook
Eleanor Roosevelt: Volume II, 1933 – 1938 by Blanche Wiesen Cook
First Ladies: From Martha Washington to Michelle Obama
by Betty Caroli
First Ladies: The Saga of the Presidents’ Wives and Their Power 1789 – 1961
by Carl Sferrazza Anthony
Florence Harding: The First Lady, The Jazz Age, and the Death of America’s Most Scandalous President
by Carl Sferrazza Anthony
Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation
by Cokie Roberts
Harriet Lane, America’s First Lady
by Milton Stern

The Kennedy Women: The Saga of an American Family by Laurence Leamer
Lou Henry Hoover: Gallant First Lady by Helen B. Pryor M.D.
Ladies of Liberty by Cokie Roberts
Martha Washington by Patricia Brady
Nellie Taft: The Unconventional First Lady of the Ragtime Era
by Carl Sferrazza
Presidential Wives: An Anecdotal History
by Paul F. Boller Jr.
The Roosevelt Women
by Betty Boyd Caroli

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