The events of this past weekend prompted me to take a look back at past inaugurations. What began as simple curiosity, turned into admiration as I looked back at the gowns, and more so, the wives of past presidents. I looked at their smiling faces, wearing their beautiful gowns, and realized that they had no idea what was ahead of them.
History has not been so kind to Mary Todd Lincoln, but how many of us could endure the loss of 2 children and having her husband assassinated while sitting next to her? What many do not know is that it was she who encouraged her husband to run for the presidency. After reading. "Lincoln The Unknown," written by Dale Carnegie, I have a profound respect for President Lincoln, and sincere gratitude for Mrs. Lincoln.
While their gowns are beautiful, it's only a very small portion of their stories. These women endured assassinations, attempted assassinations, a civil war, world wars, a great depression, a resignation and leaving the White House in disgrace, a scandal that would end most marriages, and the list goes on.
So many turned their position as First Lady into a platform. The second Mrs. Bush tackled literacy. Mrs. Obama worked to end childhood obesity and give our children a better future. Mrs. Johnson beautified our roads, and Mrs. Kennedy took on the monumental task of preserving the history of the White House.
Mrs. Roosevelt is the only First Lady to go through 4 elections, and was truly an exemplary First Lady in so many ways. Below is one of my favorite pictures of her, taken when she visited Tuskegee University and flew with Charles Anderson, head of the flight program.
This is not about whether we like the politics of their husbands, just a look back. Of course the story of Mrs. Trump has yet to be written. But, I'm sure she too will have issues to deal with that she could never have imagined.
I hope that as you scroll through, think about the stories of these ladies, and that you too will be able to find respect for them.
I only pulled out the pictures of the most recent first ladies. If you would like to see earlier gowns, beginning with Dolly Madison, you can find them HERE.
You'll see that their gowns depict the styles of the time. Enjoy :)
Mrs. Lincoln Circa 1861
Mrs. McKinley 1897
Mrs. Taft 1909
Mrs. Coolidge 1925
Mrs. Roosevelt 1933
Mrs. Eisenhower 1953
Mrs. Kennedy 1961
Mrs. Johnson 1965
Mrs. Nixon 1969
Mrs. Ford 1976
Mrs. Carter 1977
Mrs. Reagan 1981
Mrs. Bush 1989
Mrs. Clinton 1993
Mrs. Bush 2001
Mrs. Obama 2009
Mrs. Trump 2017