First Lady of the United States


During her lifetime, she was often referred to as "Lady Washington". Since the 1790s, the role of first lady has changed considerably.


Both Martha Washington and Abigail Adams were treated as if they were "ladies" of the British royal court. Dolley Madison popularized the first ladyship by engaging in efforts to assist orphans and women, by dressing in elegant fashions and attracting newspaper coverage, and by risking her life to save iconic treasures during the War of 1812.


One of the earliest uses of the term "First Lady" was applied to her in an 1838 newspaper article that appeared in the St.


Indulging in no indolence, she left the pillow at dawn, and after breakfast, retired to her chamber for an hour for the study of the scriptures and devotion." Dolley Madison was reportedly referred to as first lady in 1849 at her funeral in a eulogy delivered by President Zachary Taylor; however, no written record of this eulogy exists, nor did any of the newspapers of her day refer to her by that title.

Sometime after 1849, the title began being used in Washington, D.C., social circles.


One of the earliest known written examples comes from November 3, 1863, diary entry of William Howard Russell, in which he referred to gossip about "the First Lady in the Land", referring to Mary Todd Lincoln.


The title first gained nationwide recognition in 1877, when newspaper journalist Mary C.


A popular 1911 comedic play about Dolley Madison by playwright Charles Nirdlinger, titled The First Lady in the Land, popularized the title further.


senator for the seventeen-day overlap before Bill Clinton's term came to an end. Despite the significant responsibilities usually handled by the first lady, she does not receive a salary. == Exhibitions and collections == Established in 1912, the First Ladies Collection has been one of the most popular attractions at the Smithsonian Institution.


The original exhibition opened in 1914 and was one of the first at the Smithsonian to prominently feature women.


Use of the title later spread from the United States to other nations. When Edith Wilson took control of her husband's schedule in 1919 after he had a debilitating stroke, one Republican senator labeled her "the Presidentress who had fulfilled the dream of the suffragettes by changing her title from First Lady to Acting First Man". Another acronym used is FLOTUS, or First Lady of the United States.


By the 1930s, it was in wide use.

Madison set the standard for the ladyship and her actions were the model for nearly every first lady until Eleanor Roosevelt in the 1930s.


Michelle Obama became identified with supporting military families and tackling childhood obesity; and Melania Trump used her position to help children, including prevention of cyberbullying and support for those whose lives are affected by drugs. Since 1964, the incumbent and all living former first ladies are honorary members of the board of trustees of the National Cultural Center, the John F.


Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, for instance, became a global fashion icon: her style was copied by commercial manufacturers and imitated by many young women, and she was named to the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame in 1965.


According to the Nexis database, the term (which is pronounced FLOW-tus, to rhyme with POTUS, and not FLOT-tus) was first used in 1983 by Donnie Radcliffe, writing in The Washington Post. === Non-spouses in the role === Several women (at least thirteen) who were not presidents' wives have served as first lady, as when the president was a bachelor or widower, or when the wife of the president was unable to fulfill the duties of the first lady herself.


Victorious, Clinton served as junior senator from New York from 2001 to 2009, when she resigned to become President Obama's secretary of state.


In 2008, "First Ladies at the Smithsonian" opened at the National Museum of American History as part of its reopening year celebration.


Victorious, Clinton served as junior senator from New York from 2001 to 2009, when she resigned to become President Obama's secretary of state.


That exhibition served as a bridge to the museum's expanded exhibition on first ladies' history that opened on November 19, 2011.


However, in 2016, as Hillary Clinton became the first woman to win a major party's presidential nomination, questions were raised as to what her husband Bill would be titled if she were to win the presidency.

Later, she was the Democratic Party nominee for president in the 2016 election, but lost to Donald Trump. == Office of the First Lady == The Office of the First Lady of the United States is accountable to the first lady for her to carry out her duties as hostess of the White House, and is also in charge of all social and ceremonial events of the White House.


First Ladies and American Women: In Politics and at Home (UP of Kansas, 2017); 269 pages; On media images of Michelle Obama. Heavily illustrated. excerpt and text search Schwartz, Marie Jenkins.

Ties That Bound: Founding First Ladies and Slaves (U of Chicago Press, 2017), 420 pp. By a leading political historian. excerpt and text search == External links == Alphabetical List of First Ladies of the United States Office of the First Lady First Lady's Gallery The National First Ladies' Library The First Ladies at the Smithsonian *


New York New York University Press, 2018.


Ultimately, Hillary Clinton lost the election, rendering this a moot point. In 2021, Kamala Harris became the first woman to hold a nationally elected office when she took office as vice-president, making her husband, Doug Emhoff, the first male spouse of a nationally elected officeholder.

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