The White House: The First Lady Bird

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The impact of First Ladies on U.S. history has never been particularly resounding, but all have contributed fascinating footnotes.

There was John Adams' wife Abigail, for example. She hung laundry in the East Room of the White House; yet she insisted on receiving visitors in a chair built like an empress' throne. Zachary Taylor's wife Margaret never wanted him to be President. She felt that it would deprive her "of his society and shorten his life," so she secluded herself in a wing of the White House, where she puffed away sulkily...