First Ladies: Lady Bird Johnson

Lead: Her time in the White House began with the tragic assassination of President Kennedy, but Lady Bird Johnson’s service as First Lady was many decades in the making.

 

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

 

Content: Few politicians of his generation could match the white, hot ambition of Lyndon Baines Johnson. He pursued power with a steady and furious determination and at times evidenced a stormy and occasionally abusive personality when dealing with enemies but also colleagues, subordinates, friends and even his family. In the middle of all that sound and fury resided his wife from 1934, Claudia Alta Taylor, whom he always called by her nickname from birth, Lady Bird.

 

First Ladies: Bess Truman

Lead: She didn’t like politics and thought of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue as the “Great White Jail, but she loved Harry Truman and if he wanted to live there she would be his partner in life and service.

                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

                Content: Harry Truman first met Elizabeth Virginia Wallace at the Sunday School of the Presbyterian Church in Independence, Missouri. He was six, she was five. Until his death in 1972 at eighty-nine she never was far from his thoughts. Pursuing Bess was not easy. He was from a family of dirt farmers, she from one of the wealthiest in town. It took a long time and a lot of work on his part for Madge Wallace to warm to Harry and for the balance of her life Mother Wallace was a member of the Truman household, part of the price he paid to win Bess.

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First Ladies: Dolley Madison II

Lead:  With the British Army at the gates of Washington, the President's wife refused to flee.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: From the time she married James Madison, Dolley Payne Todd was a major player in the social life of the nation and an important political asset to her husband. During the Presidency of Thomas Jefferson, she served as unofficial hostess to the widowed Chief Executive providing an elegant simplicity to White House functions consistent with Jefferson's ideas of republican equality.

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First Ladies: Dolley Madison I

Lead:  For nearly five decades Mrs. James Madison, Dolley, was the center of social life in the nation's capital.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Born in North Carolina to Quaker parents Dorothea Payne was raised in the simple manner common to that faith, taught to dress plainly, behave in a retiring manner, and shun a life of luxury and display. It is said her younger brother William began calling her Dolley and the name stuck.

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First Ladies – Martha Jefferson

Lead:  The wife of Thomas Jefferson never served as first lady.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Martha Wayles Skelton was a wealthy young widow in 1770 when the tall gangly red-haired Thomas Jefferson began the courtship that would lead to their marriage. She played the harpsichord, he the violin and this mutual love of music brought them closer as the months passed. After their wedding on New Year's Day in 1772 they left her home near Williamsburg, Virginia traveling by carriage the 100 miles to Monticello. On the way a powerful snowstorm forced them to switch to horseback having o negotiate drifts sometimes 18 inches deep. They came to the all-but-deserted house after the servants had gone to bed. Later both would remember the "horrible dreariness of such" a homecoming and the welcome relief of a half-filled bottle of wine. Martha Jefferson was home

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Abigail Adams

Lead:  Abigail Adams was the first and only woman to be both First Lady and mother of a President of the United States.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The marriage of John and Abigail Adams is one of the great love stories in American History. Their abundant correspondence exchanged during John Adams' frequent absences on commonwealth or national business, reveals a mutual respect, admiration, and are surprisingly passionate considering his often sour disposition and rather grim reputation as a determined and dedicated patriot.

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The President’s Lady (Jackson) – Part II

Lead:  To get at Andrew Jackson during the campaign of 1828, his political opponents accused his wife Rachel of bigamy.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In the early 1800s divorce in America was rare and socially scorned. First married to Lewis Robards, an abusive and promiscuous husband, Rachel Donelson Jackson left him. When Andrew Jackson heard that Robards had filed for divorce, the young Tennessee lawyer, deeply in love with the beautiful and vivacious Rachel, quickly married her. The problem was Robards had only filed for divorce and in the two years they before the decree was granted, Jackson and Rachel had been co-habiting, though in ignorance of her legal standing, while she was legally married to another man. When the divorce came through, the shocked couple were quickly re-married, this time legally, but the damage had been done. Thus, from the beginning their marriage was tainted with scandal.

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The President’s Lady (Jackson) – I

Lead:  Rachel Donelson was quite a catch. In the Tennessee wilderness of 1784 her family was prominent and she a very attractive young lady.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: On a trip to Kentucky from their home in Nashville she met and fell in love with Lewis Robards. Soon they were inseparable and when her family returned home she remained and married him. Their happiness was short-lived. Robards became abusive and promiscuous and soon the marriage was over in reality if not in fact. After four hard years, Rachel's brother came to Kentucky and brought her home.

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