Take the U.S. First Ladies Quiz!


By: Carolyn Brooks Fleming

6 Min Quiz

Image: Youtube

About This Quiz

How much do you know about these fascinating women?

Which first lady served the longest term?

Anna Eleanor Roosevelt served as first lady from 1933 to 1945, because her husband was elected president four times. He died during his fourth term. Eleanor was born with the last name Roosevelt - she was the fifth cousin once removed of her husband, Franklin D. Roosevelt.


During the War of 1812, which first lady saved a portrait of George Washington before the White House was torched?

Dolley Payne Todd Madison and a few servants packed what valuables they could before they evacuated the White House. Famously, they packed a full-length portrait of George Washington by Gilbert Stuart. The soldiers who were supposed to protect the first lady had already fled! British troops burned the White House in August 1814, mere hours after Dolley Madison left.


Which first-lady-to-be wore bespoke royal purple shoes made of silk, linen, leather, lace, sequins, and wood at her wedding?

Martha Dandridge Custis Washington's wedding shoes were custom-ordered from London. After the wedding, George Washington frequently ordered custom shoes for his fashionable wife! Experts estimate that she would wear a size 7 in modern shoes.


What was the actual first name of Lady Bird Johnson?

Claudia Alta Taylor Johnson was the full legal name of President Lyndon B. Johnson's wife. Claudia's nurse, Alice Tittle, thought the young girl was "purty as a ladybird," and the name stuck. In keeping with her nature-inspired nickname, Lady Bird founded the National Wildflower Research Center.


What movie featured not only a future first lady, but also her future husband and U.S. president?

"Hellcats of the Navy" is best remembered as being future First Lady Nancy Davis' last film and Ronald Reagan's second-to-last film.


Who is the only first lady to win a Grammy (as of 2016)?

Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton won a Grammy for her recording of her book, "It Takes a Village and Other Lessons Children Teach Us."


Which first lady was the first to own and drive a car?

Helen Herron Taft, wife of William Howard Taft, was the first to own and drive a car. This seems contrary to her nickname, "Nervous Nellie."


Which first lady was known as "Mrs. Presidentress"?

Julia Gardiner Tyler, second wife of John Tyler, not only enjoyed being known as "Mrs. Presidentress" while her husband was in office, but in later days she wanted to be known as "Mrs. Ex-Presidentress."


What is the name of First Lady Michelle Obama's program to combat childhood obesity?

Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama not only started "Let's Move!," but she also helped launch "Joining Forces," "Reach Higher," and "Let Girls Learn."


Which first lady was the first to hold a job after marriage?

Abigail Powers Fillmore was the first first lady to hold a job after marriage. Interestingly, she met her future husband, Millard Fillmore, when she was his teacher.


Which first lady was known as "Lemonade Lucy"?

Lucy Ware Webb Hayes, wife of Rutherford B. Hayes, was known as "Lemonade Lucy" because of her support for the temperance movement. She was known as a gracious hostess even though she made sure no liquor was served at White House events.


Which first lady held the position for the shortest period of time?

Anna Tuthill Symmes Harrison's husband, Benjamin Harrison, died exactly one month after his presidential inauguration. Anna had been too ill to travel from Ohio when he was inaugurated, and he died before she was even able to join him in Washington.


What was the original first name of First Lady Pat Nixon?

Pat Nixon was named Thelma Catherine Ryan at birth, but when her father first saw her on St. Patrick's Day he called her his "St. Patrick's babe in the morn." This soon morphed into the nickname, Pat. She took the name legally when her father died.


After the 19th Amendment was ratified, granting women the right to vote, which future first lady was the first who could vote for her husband?

The 19th Amendment was ratified in August 1920. Florence Mabel Kling Harding presumably cast her ballot for her husband, Warren Harding, in November of the same year.


As of 2016, who is the only first lady born outside the United States?

Louisa Catherine Johnson Adams was born in London, England, and she did not move to the U.S. until after her marriage to John Quincy Adams. Her father was an American, however, so she was a legal citizen of the U.S.


Which first lady received guests while seated in a blue velvet chair, sat next to her husband at state dinners (against protocol), and held a bouquet to avoid shaking hands?

Ida Saxton McKinley, wife of William McKinley, suffered from phlebitis and epileptic seizures, so she was unable to stand. Her husband was solicitous and protective, shielding her face with a handkerchief if she had a seizure in public.


Which first lady once served as the national president of the Girl Scouts?

Lou Henry Hoover, wife of Herbert Hoover, served two terms as national president of the Girl Scouts. During her second term, she started the tradition of selling Girl Scout cookies, so we owe her a great debt!


Which first lady was the first to pose for a photograph?

Julia Gardiner Tyler's photo was lost for many years, but it resurfaced in the Library of Congress collections in 1987. She was the first woman to marry a U.S. president during his term in office, in 1844.


Who was the first first lady to die in the White House?

Letitia Christian Tyler had been in poor health even before her husband, John Tyler, took the oath of office. The couple's daughter-in-law served as White House hostess in Letitia's stead, until her death. John Tyler soon married again, becoming the first president to marry during his term in office.


Which first lady was the first to visit a combat zone?

Thelma "Pat" Catherine Ryan Nixon, wife of Richard Nixon, visited South Vietnam in July 1969.


Which first lady raised silk worms at the White House?

Louisa Catherine Johnson Adams, wife of John Quincy Adams, participated in a common practice of the time - raising silk worms in order to sell the silk.


Who was the first first lady to have a Christmas tree in the White House?

Caroline Lavinia Scott Harrison, wife of Benjamin Harrison, was the first to have a Christmas tree in the White House, in 1889. She was a skilled watercolor artist. She painted flowers and took great pains with floral arrangements at the White House.


Who was the first woman to marry a president in the White House?

Although Frances Clara Folsom Cleveland was not the first to marry a U.S. president during his term in office - that distinction went to Julia Tyler in 1844 - she was the first to marry in the White House. She and Grover Cleveland wed in 1886.


What was the catchphrase for First Lady Nancy Reagan's drug awareness campaign?

"Just Say No" was part of the "U.S. War on Drugs." Nancy Davis Reagan, wife of Ronald Reagan, had been an actress in her younger days. In 1983 she appeared on the TV show "Diff'rent Strokes," in support of her anti-drug campaign. She was the first first lady to address the United Nations.


Harriet Lane served as first lady for which president?

James Buchanan is the only U.S. president who never married (as of 2016). Harriet Rebecca Lane Johnston, who was adopted by her Uncle James Buchanan after she was orphaned, served as his hostess in the White House.


The father of which future first lady opposed her marriage, saying, "the boy is too poor"?

The father of Julia Boggs Dent Grant originally opposed her marriage to Ulysses S. Grant. They had a happy marriage, however, and she was devoted to her husband, even accompanying him to military posts during the Mexican War.


Who was the first woman to be the wife of one president and mother of another?

Abigail Adams was the wife of second President John Adams and also the mother of sixth President John Quincy Adams.


Which first-lady-to-be died shortly before her husband's inauguration?

Rachel Donelson Jackson was buried on Christmas Eve in 1828, in the dress she had intended to wear at her husband's presidential inauguration in 1829. President Andrew Jackson subsequently asked a family member, Emily Donelson, to perform the duties of first lady. She passed away before Jackson's term ended, and for several months another relative, Sarah Yorke Jackson, filled the role.


First Lady Caroline Harrison served as the first president general of which organization?

Caroline Lavinia Scott Harrison, wife of Benjamin Harrison, was interested in history and preservation. In 1890 she helped found the DAR. She also established the now-extensive collection of White House china.


Which first lady was the first to give birth to twins?

Laura Lane Welch Bush, wife of George W. Bush, gave birth to fraternal twin daughters in 1981. The girls were named for their grandmothers - former First Lady Barbara Bush and Jenna Welch, mother of Laura Bush.


As of 2016, Michelle Obama and which other first lady shared the distinction of being the tallest?

Michelle Obama and Eleanor Roosevelt both officially stand or stood 5'11" tall. Most sources indicate that the shortest first lady was Mary Todd Lincoln, at 5'2".


Which first lady was the first to give the president's weekly radio address?

Laura Lane Welch Bush gave the president's weekly radio address for her husband, George W. Bush, in November 2001. She criticized the Taliban's oppression of women and children in Afghanistan.


Which first lady was famous for her Pumpkin Chiffon Pie recipe?

Mamie Geneva Doud Eisenhower, wife of Dwight D. Eisenhower, directed her social secretary to send the pie recipe to anyone who requested it. It was lighter than the typical pumpkin pie because it contained gelatin.


Which first lady wrote about life in the White House from her dog's point of view?

Barbara Pierce Bush wrote about a day in the life of President George H.W. Bush and family, from the point of view of Millie, the family dog. Millie was an English Springer Spaniel.


Ending with a fairly obvious question, who was the first first lady to be elected to the U.S. Senate, to be appointed secretary of state, and to run for the presidency?

Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton, not one to stand in the shadow of her husband, Bill Clinton, put together her own impressive political résumé.


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