America's First Ladies

The First Ladies of America each made their own unique contributions to American society. Some of them influenced their husbands greatly on policy, while some actually crafted it behind the scenes. Others influenced the fashions of the day, or the home décor. Some served as examples to other First Ladies of how to be in the role, while others had poor public reputations for various reasons.

Some First Ladies had wonderful and lengthy careers in the public sphere after leaving the White House, while others retired to obscurity. Each First Lady left her own special mark on the White House and American society, yet not all are well remembered by the public. Some are not remembered at all. This is an unfortunate oversight, as they were all fascinating women.

There were a few presidents who technically did not have a First Lady, like Thomas Jefferson. His wife, Martha, died two decades before he took office, and his daughter Peggy took on most of the First Lady duties in an unofficial capacity. Other presidents who did not have wives gave official First Lady duties to female relatives. There are even instances of a president having more than one First Lady, due to deaths while in office, relatives taking the job, and remarriages (also in office).

Here is the fascinating tale of the lives of America’s First Ladies, from Martha Washington to Melania Trump.

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