ABOUT THE WHITE HOUSE * FIRST LADIES
about_first_ladies_marthawashington Martha Washington
about_first_ladies_abigailadams Abigail Adams
about_first_ladies_marthajefferson Martha Jefferson
about_first_ladies_dolleymadison Dolley Madison
about_first_ladies_elizabethmonroe Elizabeth Monroe
about_first_ladies_louisaadams Louisa Adams
about_first_ladies_racheljackson Rachel Jackson
about_first_ladies_hannahvanburen Hannah Van Buren
about_first_ladies_annaharrison Anna Harrison
about_first_ladies_letitiatyler Letitia Tyler
about_first_ladies_juliatyler Julia Tyler
about_first_ladies_sarahpolk Sarah Polk
about_first_ladies_margarettaylor Margaret Taylor
about_first_ladies_abigailfillmore Abigail Fillmore
about_first_ladies_janepierce Jane Pierce
about_first_ladies_harrietlane Harriet Lane
about_first_ladies_marylincoln Mary Lincoln
about_first_ladies_elizajohnson Eliza Johnson
about_first_ladies_juliagrant Julia Grant
about_first_ladies_lucyhayes Lucy Hayes
about_first_ladies_lucretiagarfield Lucretia Garfield
about_first_ladies_ellenarthur Ellen Arthur
about_first_ladies_francescleveland Frances Cleveland
about_first_ladies_carolineharrison Caroline Harrison
about_first_ladies_francescleveland Frances Cleveland
about_first_ladies_idamckinley Ida McKinley
about_first_ladies_edithroosevelt Edith Roosevelt
about_first_ladies_helentaft Helen Taft
about_first_ladies_ellenwilson Ellen Wilson
about_first_ladies_edithwilson Edith Wilson
about_first_ladies_florenceharding Florence Harding
about_first_ladies_gracecoolidge Grace Coolidge
about_first_ladies_louhoover Lou Hoover
about_first_ladies_eleanorroosevelt Eleanor Roosevelt
about_first_ladies_besstruman Elizabeth Truman
about_first_ladies_mamieeisenhower Mamie Eisenhower
about_first_ladies_jacquelinekennedy Jacqueline Kennedy
about_first_ladies_ladybirdjohnson Claudia Johnson
about_first_ladies_patnixon Patricia Nixon
about_first_ladies_bettyford Elizabeth Ford
about_first_ladies_rosalynncarter Rosalynn Carter
about_first_ladies_nancyreagan Nancy Reagan
about_first_ladies_barbarabush Barbara Bush
about_first_ladies_hillaryclinton Hillary Clinton
about_first_ladies_laurabush Laura Bush
administration_michelle_obama Michelle Obama
LUCY WARE WEBB HAYES
b.1831 -- d.1889
There was no inaugural ball in 1877--when Rutherford B. Hayes and his wife, Lucy, left Ohio for Washington, the outcome of the election was still in doubt. Public fears had not subsided when it was settled in Hayes' favor; and when Lucy watched her husband take his oath of office at the Capitol, her serene and beautiful face impressed even cynical journalists.
She came to the White House well loved by many. Born in Chillicothe, Ohio, daughter of Maria Cook and Dr. James Webb, she lost her father at age two. She was just entering her teens when Mrs. Webb took her sons to the town of Delaware to enroll in the new Ohio Wesleyan University, but she began studying with its excellent instructors. She graduated from the Wesleyan Female College in Cincinnati at 18, unusually well educated for a young lady of her day.
"Rud" Hayes at 27 had set up a law practice in Cincinnati, and he began paying calls at the Webb home. References to Lucy appeared in his diary: "Her low sweet voice is very winning ... a heart as true as steel.... Intellect she has too.... By George! I am in love with her!" Married in 1852, they lived in Cincinnati until the Civil War, and he soon came to share her deeply religious opposition to slavery. Visits to relatives and vacation journeys broke the routine of a happy domestic life in a growing family. Over twenty years Lucy bore eight children, of whom five grew up.
She won the affectionate name of "Mother Lucy" from men of the 23rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry who served under her husband's command in the war. They remembered her visits to camp--to minister to the wounded, cheer the homesick, and comfort the dying. Hayes' distinguished combat record earned him election to Congress, and three postwar terms as governor of Ohio. She not only joined him in Washington for its winter social season, she also accompanied him on visits to state reform schools, prisons, and asylums. As the popular first lady of her state, she gained experience in what a woman of her time aptly called "semi-public life."
Thus she entered the White House with confidence gained from her long and happy married life, her knowledge of political circles, her intelligence and culture, and her cheerful spirit. She enjoyed informal parties, and spared no effort to make official entertaining attractive. Though she was a temperance advocate and liquor was banned at the mansion during this administration, she was a very popular hostess. She took criticism of her views in good humor (the famous nickname "Lemonade Lucy" apparently came into use only after she had left the mansion). She became one of the best-loved women to preside over the White House, where the Hayeses celebrated their silver wedding anniversary in 1877, and an admirer hailed her as representing "the new woman era."
The Hayes term ended in 1881, and the family home was now "Spiegel Grove," an estate at Fremont, Ohio. There husband and wife spent eight active, contented years together until her death in 1889. She was buried in Fremont, mourned by her family and hosts of friends.
Click about_presidents_rutherfordbhayes here to read the biography of President Rutherford B. Hayes.
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