Wives of the American Presidents, 2d ed.

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About the Book

Their personalities often set the tone for Washington society, from Julia Tyler’s open hospitality to Sarah Polk’s somber religious devotion. Some, like Abigail Adams, had little formal schooling. Others, such as Pat Nixon and Hillary Clinton, earned college degrees. There were those who outlived their spouses as well as women who died before seeing their husbands realize their presidential dreams. In spite of differing circumstances, these presidential wives influenced—sometimes overtly and often inadvertently—everything from domestic political agendas to foreign policy through their relationships with their husbands.
From Martha Washington to Laura Bush, this book discusses the lives and circumstances of the 47 women who have been married to an American president. It emphasizes the relationship each wife had with her husband and the ways in which this contributed to the success or failure of his presidency. Details include birthplace, upbringing, political viewpoints and final resting place. Chapters are also included on women such as Hannah Van Buren and Jane Wyman, who although married to men who eventually became president, never became first lady.

About the Author(s)

The late Carole Chandler Waldrup was a retired social worker in Hickory, North Carolina.

Bibliographic Details

Carole Chandler Waldrup
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 304
Bibliographic Info: 45 photos, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2019 [2006]
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7902-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0516-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction      1

1. Martha Dandridge Custis Washington      3
2. Abigail Smith Adams      11
3. Martha Wayles Skelton Jefferson      19
4. Dorothea (Dolley) Payne Todd Madison      23
5. Elizabeth Kortright Monroe      31
6. Louisa Catherine Johnson Adams      38
7. Rachel Donelson Robards Jackson      48
8. Hannah Hoes Van Buren      55
9. Anna Tuthill Symmes Harrison      57
10. Letitia Christian Tyler      63
11. Julia Gardiner Tyler      68
12. Sarah Childress Polk      75
13. Margaret Mackall Smith Taylor      81
14. Abigail Powers Fillmore      87
15. Caroline Carmichael McIntosh Fillmore      92
16. Jane Means Appleton Pierce      94
17. Mary Todd Lincoln      100
18. Eliza McCardle Johnson      107
19. Julia Boggs Dent Grant      114
20. Lucy Ware Webb Hayes      120
21. Lucretia Rudolph Garfield      127
22. Ellen Lewis Herndon Arthur      133
23. Frances Folsom Cleveland      138
24. Caroline Lavinia Scott Harrison      143
25. Mary Scott Lord Dimmick Harrison      149
26. Ida Saxton McKinley      153
27. Alice Hathaway Lee Roosevelt      159
28. Edith Kermit Carow Roosevelt      163
29. Helen Herron Taft      171
30. Ellen Louise Axson Wilson      177
31. Edith Bolling Galt Wilson      186
32. Florence Mabel Kling De Wolfe Harding      193
33. Grace Anna Goodhue Coolidge      200
34. Lou Henry Hoover      206
35. Anna Eleanor Roosevelt Roosevelt      212
36. Elizabeth Virginia (Bess) Wallace Truman      221
37. Mary Geneva (Mamie) Doud Eisenhower      228
38. Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis      237
39. Claudia (Lady Bird) Taylor Johnson      245
40. Thelma Catherine (Patricia) Ryan Nixon      253
41. Elizabeth Ann (Betty) Bloomer Ford      261
42. Rosalynn Smith Carter      267
43. Sarah Jane Fulks Wyman (Reagan)      274
44. Nancy Davis (Anne Frances Robbins) Reagan      277
45. Barbara Pierce Bush      283
46. Hillary Rodham Clinton      287
47. Laura Welch Bush      291

Bibliography      294
Index      297

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Recommended”—Booklist
  • “Discussion [of] the United States presidents’ wives emphasizes some aspects of humanness, particularly lifestyle and mortality. The author stays on a chronological track to reveal some of the positive and defeating decisions and fate of the first families, including the children”—ARBA.