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Encyclopedia > Frances Cleveland

Frances Folsom Cleveland (July 21, 1864October 29, 1947), wife of Grover Cleveland, was First Lady of the United States from 1886 to 1889 and 1893 to 1897.


Frances Folsom was born in Buffalo, New York, the only child of Emma C. Harmon and Oscar Folsom—who became a law partner of Cleveland's. As a devoted family friend Cleveland bought "Frank" her first baby carriage. As administrator of the Folsom estate after his partner's death, though never her legal guardian, he guided her education. When she entered Wells College, he asked Mrs. Folsom's permission to correspond with her, and he kept her room bright with flowers. Though Frank and her mother missed his inauguration in 1885, they visited him at the White House that spring. Their affection turned into romance—despite 27 years' difference in age—and there the wedding took place on June 2, 1886, making them the first and only first couple to be wed in the executive mansion.

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Frances Folsom married President Grover Cleveland on June 2, 1886, becoming the First Lady of the United States.

When Frances Folsom became Mrs. Cleveland, she took over the duties of being White House hostess, and her charm won her popularity. She held two receptions a week—one on Saturday afternoons, when women with jobs were free to come. Cleveland's sister Rose Elizabeth Cleveland had been her bachelor brother's hostess in the first 15 months of his first term of office. After her brother's marriage, Rose gladly gave up the duties of hostess for her own career in education.


After losing the U.S. presidential election, 1888, the Clevelands lived in New York City, where baby Ruth was born. With his re-election, the First Lady returned to the White House as if she had been gone but a day. People took keen interest in the birth of Esther at the mansion in 1893, and of Marion in 1895. When the family left the White House, Mrs. Cleveland had become one of the most popular women ever to serve as hostess for the nation.


She bore two sons while the Clevelands lived in Princeton, New Jersey, and was at her husband's side when he died at their home, "Westland," in 1908. In 1913 she married Thomas J. Preston, Jr., a professor of archeology, and remained a figure of note in the Princeton community until she died. She had reached her 84th year-nearly the age at which the venerable Mrs. Polk had welcomed her and her husband on a Presidential visit to the South, and chatted of changes in White House life from bygone days.

Preceded by:
Rose Cleveland
First Ladies of the United States Succeeded by:
Caroline Harrison
Preceded by:
Mary Harrison McKee
First Ladies of the United States Succeeded by:
Ida Saxton McKinley

Reference

  • Original text based on White House biography (http://www.whitehouse.gov/history/firstladies/fc2224.html)

  Results from FactBites:
 
Biography of Frances Cleveland (422 words)
She was born in Buffalo, New York, only child of Emma C. Harmon and Oscar Folsom--who became a law partner of Cleveland's.
Cleveland had become one of the most popular women ever to serve as hostess for the nation.
She bore two sons while the Clevelands lived in Princeton, New Jersey, and was at her husband's side when he died at their home, "Westland," in 1908.
Grover Cleveland - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1658 words)
Cleveland was a hard worker and was scrupulously honest at a time when many politicians were neither, but he had little imagination and seemed overwhelmed by the nation's economic problems in his second term.
Cleveland was born in Caldwell, New Jersey to the Rev. Richard Cleveland and Anne Neal.
In 1893, Cleveland appointed former Congressman James Henderson Blount as the Minister to Hawaii to investigate the unauthorized invasion of the Kingdom of Hawaii by U.S. Marines, which resulted in the fake revolution (aka "overthrow") against the government of Queen Liliuokalani by sugar planters and American businessmen.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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