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January 21, 2021
CQ Press Encyclopedia of American Government

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Have You Heard

Not every president had a wife to act as first lady. Four presidents (Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren, and Chester A. Arthur) entered the White House as widowers. James Buchanan never married but the other bachelor president, Grover Cleveland, married while in the White House. All had friends or relatives serve as official hostesses. Similarly, other women were hostesses for presidents whose wives were in poor health. Presidents in this category were William Henry Harrison, John Tyler (until he remarried in 1839), Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce (whose wife, Jane, ultimately assumed her duties), and Andrew Johnson.  more...

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