Surprising Facts About America’s First Ladies

The position of the First Lady of the United States of America is a very prestigious one. Their role may not hold as much prominence as their husband’s but they’re very much needed. These women often carry out important tasks such as holding press conferences, influencing leaders behind the scenes and tackling critical social issues. Aside from the everyday information out there on these women, there are some lesser known facts about America’s number one ladies that may surprise you. This list will open your eyes.

1. Mary Todd Lincoln Held Seances In The White House

Mary Todd Lincoln experienced quite a lot of deaths during her lifetime; losing her mother, three of her four sons, and her husband who was assassinated right next to her. When their youngest son passed at 11 years old from typhoid fever, the Lincolns sunk into a deep depression. In her despair, she visited a group of mediums known as the Lauries who conducted seances in the White House’s Red Room with Lincoln himself attending a few. Today, there are rumors of the White House being haunted by the spirits of Lincoln, his brother Eddie and son Willie.

2. Florence Harding was Accused of Murder

Florence Harding was a dutiful and loyal wife who supported her husband in everything, even during the beginning of his career as a newspaper editor. So why was she suddenly accused of murdering him? Well, shortly after the president’s death on August 2, 1923, the First Lady had him embalmed immediately, refused an autopsy and destroyed much of his papers. Some people found this suspicious and wasted no time in blaming her for his death. It is now believed that he was the victim of a fatal heart attack.

3. Eleanor Roosevelt May Have Had An Affair With A Reporter

It’s usually the presidents who are known for their affairs, not the first ladies. But Eleanor Roosevelt developed a really close bond with a female reporter named Lorena Hickok. The women became friends following a 1932 interview and it didn’t take long for their friendship to turn romantic, as evidenced by their steamy love letters. Hickok even temporarily moved into the White House in the room next to the First Lady. Their romantic relationship fizzled out after some time, but the two women remained close friends their entire lives.

4. Lucretia Garfield Cared For Her Husband Following An Attempt On His Life

President James Garfield was the victim of an assassination attempt on July 2, 1881 though he did succumb to his wounds over two months later. During this time, his wife Lucretia Garfield stayed at his bedside, even though she had just barely recovered from malaria herself. In her frail state, she took care of her husband and helped the doctors and nurses in whatever way she could. She remained at his side until his death, gaining much respect and admiration from the country for her devotion to her husband.

5. Dolley Madison Had An Honorary Seat In Congress

It is because of Dolley Madison, that the wives of presidents hold the title of “First Lady.” As America’s First Lady, she spent much of her time campaigning for her husband, hosting events, and even furnishing the White House. She greatly influenced American politics by encouraging Thomas Jefferson to hold amicable discussions with both parties instead of just one at a time. Because of this she had an honorary seat in Congress where she listened in on elected officials constant squabbling. They seemed to have enjoyed her presence, because she was invited back on several occasions!

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