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Frances Folsom Cleveland 1864 ~ 1947


Frances Folsom Cleveland

Rose Elizabeth Cleveland presided over the White House most acceptably for about a year, when it was rumored that she was to be succeeded by her brother's bride, and much interest was manifested as to who that fortunate person was to be. It finally developed that it was the beautiful Miss Frances Folsom, of Buffalo, New York, who immediately on her return from Europe, was married to Grover Cleveland, the President of the United States.

Miss Folsom was the daughter of Mr. Cleveland's former law partner, and she was his ward from the time of the tragic death of her father, who was killed in an accident. She had been educated at Wells College and had spent a year in Europe after Mr. Cleveland's election to the Presidency. It was claimed the engagement existed at the time of his election but desiring to spend a year abroad before assuming the grave responsibility of Mistress of the White House, the wedding was not hastened. She was but twenty-two years old at the time of her marriage. On the 27th of May, she arrived in New York from her European sojourn. It was found that unusual preparations were being made in the White House for expected guests. Miss Cleveland, Mistress of the White House, accompanied by Mr. Cleveland's secretary, Mr. Lamont, and his wife, and several of the ladies of the Cabinet, hurried to New York to meet Miss Folsom and her mother on their arrival on the "Noordland'' from Antwerp. The party immediately repaired to the Gilsey House where they were soon after joined by the President and the friends who accompanied him. They returned on Monday to Washington, Mrs. Cleveland and her mother going to the White House with the party.

They remained as guests until on Wednesday evening, June 3rd, when the President and Miss Folsom were married in the presence of members of the Cabinet and a few friends. Every detail of the important event was characterized by refinement and dignity. After their marriage, the President and Mrs. Cleveland went to Deer Park, Maryland, where the cottage of ex-Senator Davis, of West Virginia, had been prepared for their reception. In a few days they returned to the White House and no mistress of that staid old mansion ever presided with more grace, dignity and genuine hospitality than did Mrs. Grover Cleveland. Tall and graceful with dark brown hair, worn loosely back from the forehead, the most distinguishing features of her face were her beautiful violet eyes and exquisitely mobile mouth, which imparted to the face a very sweet expression. As beauty ever paves a way for its possessor, Mrs. Cleveland was admired from the first as a woman of rare attractions. Her personality was exceedingly agreeable. She had by nature all acquirements and attained the art of pleasing in an eminent degree. Mrs. Cleveland displayed at all times wonderful tact and simplicity of manner. She was not in the least spoiled by the adulation she received. Ruth, President and Mrs. Cleveland's first child, was born in the White House. They retired at the end of Mr. Cleveland's first term, to be absent only four years, when she was again installed in the White House as its Mistress for the second time. It would be a very fault-finding person who could point out any act of Mrs. Cleveland's while she was the Mistress of the White House that could be criticized. When she took her departure for the second time she left behind her many devoted friends and admirers. No complaint was ever lodged against her as having extended scant courtesy to any visitor entitled to consideration at the National Executive Mansion.

In establishing their private home in Princeton, New Jersey, she at once became popular with the faculty, trustees and students of Princeton College. Entering at all times heartily into every scheme for the pleasure of the college people, she won their imperishable admiration. Her uniform dignity and the maintenance of her high position as the widow of an ex-President of the United States has been above criticism.

Her good taste in accompanying her children to Europe to give them some opportunities in the old world, and the modesty with which she took up her residence in Geneva to quietly carry out her plans, is worthy of the highest commendation of our American Nation.

Women of America

Source: The Part Taken by Women in American History, By Mrs. John A. Logan, Published by The Perry-Nalle Publishing Company, Wilmington, Delaware, 1912.


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