The bedroom at Mount Vernon used by Martha Washington as a widow.
As the gallery of images in the previous article showing the beds and bedrooms of the U.S. Presidents suggests, they usually had a lot of room to share it. Most did so with their wives. Still, there was nothing to suggest friction when a First Lady maintained her own, separate bedroom.
In the days of large manor houses and plantations, it was certainly a sign of great wealth when the lord and lady of even an American home could afford to keep their own spaces, if even simply to nap or escape to when there were pressing issues of state keeping the President up late, burning the midnight oil.
And while widower Jefferson’s daughter and bachelor Buchanan’s niece did serve as their First Ladies, they most definitely had their own bedrooms in the presidential private homes, as they did in the White House.
Of course, most of the First Ladies lived out their lives as presidential widows, but not all did so in the bedrooms they once shared with the Presidents.
And too, while most First Ladies would have shared the presidential bedrooms seen in the previous article, a relatively small number of them did not whether due to health or other factors. Here they are.
While it is the same bed previously seen which she shared with her husband (and which her son and his wife Louisa later shared apparently) this bed at the Adams National Historic Site is significant in that it was the one Abigail Adams died in.
Martha Jefferson Randolph’s bedroom in the famous Monticello, home of her father Thomas Jefferson. She briefly served as his White House hostess for two winter social seasons of his eight-year presidency.
Dolley Madison’s bedroom at Montpelier.
The bedroom of Sarah York Jackson, one of two First Ladies during her father-in-law’s presidency.
Angelica Van Buren’s bedroom at the Hudson River Valley home of her widowed father-in-law, for whom she served as First Lady.
The bed Sarah Polk slept in as a widow for several decades. (ggsreflections.blogspot.com)
Harriet Lane’s bedroom at the Wheatland estate of her bachelor uncle, for whom she served as First Lady.
Mary Todd Lincoln’s bedroom at her family’s Lexington, Kentucky home, which she visited and used after her marriage as well as during her childhood
Invalid Eliza Johnson’s bedroom in the family’s Tennessee home.
The widowed Lucretia Garfield used the bedroom in the summers she continued to spend at the family farmhouse, Lawnfield.
The widowed Ida McKinley’s bedroom, recreated in the Saxton-McKinley House in Canton, Ohio.
Edith Wilson’s bedroom where she lived most of her life. (leonids.us)
In this collection of artifacts from a Herbert Hoover Presidential Library display is the headboard and footboard of Lou Hoover’s bed used in her Palo Alto, California home.
Eleanor Roosevelt permitted her New York City bedroom to be photographed for a paid Simmons advertisement, calling it “The most marvelous mattress in the world.”
Eleanor Roosevelt’s bedroom at Val Kill, the Hudson River Valley home she built for herself, apart from the Springwood estate where her husband and mother-in-law continued to live.
Bess Truman shared this bedroom with her daughter Margaret at the presidential retreat in Key West, Florida.
Mamie Eisenhower’s legendary pink bed, in the Eisenhower farmhouse at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. To preserve her uncertain health, she often conducted meetings and handled her correspondence from her bed.
Mamie Eisenhower’s bedroom at her Palm Springs home.
Jackie Kennedy’s bedroom at the Newport, Rhode Island estate of her stepfather Hugh Auchincloss, which she used in the summers before her marriage. Once a museum, the property is now private.
The bedroom of Ari and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis on his yacht.
Jackie Onassis’s private bedroom in the Pink House on the Onassis island of Skorpios, with the wrought-iron canopy, made in Greece.
The bedroom of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in her Martha’s Vineyard home.
Pat Nixon’s bedroom at the family’s San Clemente estate, La Casa Pacifica.
Nancy Reagan in her bedroom of the famous General Electric house where she and her family lived from the 1950s to 1980, in a screen capture from one of the GE commercials.
Categories: First Ladies, Presidential Homes
Tags: Abigail Adams, Edith Wilson, Eleanor Roosevelt, Ida McKinley, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Martha Washington, Mary Lincoln, Pat Nixon
I think it is a “Coolidge Lamp” beside Eliza Johnson’s bed in the family’s Tennessee home. Prior to the 1923 Homestead Inaugural the lamp was known as a “Lincoln Drape.”
A lamp as a drape? A Johnson knowing a Coolidge would soon follow? Are these bedroom ghost tales of another presidential planet Jim? Haha. You mean in retrospect it was called a Coolidge lamp?
Wow – Mrs. Madison was ahead of Mrs. Reagan in using the color red – I think it is my favorite bedroom – am I correct that Mrs. Madison’s portrait hangs in the Red Room of the White House – hope so for Mrs. Madison!
I am putting in a plug for another Hudson blog … with pictures!
Haha…she sure was, actually I had always thought her favorite color was yellow. Knowing Dolley Madison, however, she probably could lay claim to several bright primary colors as her own. And ask and you shall receive – when time permits…and that is sadly increasingly slowing down this website – there will be some more Hudson stuff to come. In the meanwhile David thank you for writing.
Why do these bedrooms give me the willies.eek.
Perhaps because they are “re-created” so to speak – meaning they are museum display rooms of the furniture used by real people in these spaces – but perhaps arranged too inhumanly tidy?