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Topics in Chronicling America - Frances Clara Folsom Cleveland: 1st Bride of the White House

Frances Folsom Cleveland, the youngest First Lady in U.S. history, was an exceptionally beautiful and charming young woman. Following her marriage to Grover Cleveland, she became an overnight tabloid media sensation. A frenzied press began to cover her every movement and fashion statement. Her popularity became so great that when reporters made up a story that Frances had stopped wearing a bustle, everyone stopped wearing them—including Frances. During her two White House tenures as First Lady, Frances helped strengthen the Secret Service and promote free Kindergarten education for all. Read more about it!

The information and sample article links below provide access to a sampling of articles from historic newspapers that can be found in the Chronicling America: American Historic Newspapers digital collection (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/). Use the Suggested Search Terms and Dates to explore this topic further in Chronicling America.


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Jump to: Sample Articles

Important Dates:

  • March 1885. President Cleveland chooses Frances C. Folsom as his bride.
  • June 2, 1886. The private wedding takes place in the White House Blue Room. John Philip Sousa's Marine Corps Band plays at ceremony's end.
  • June, 1886. Honeymooning in a Deer Park Lodge cabin in Maryland, the couple finds themselves mobbed by the press.
  • 1886. To protect his wife from reporters, Cleveland purchases a farmhouse in Georgetown Heights. After this, the Cleveland's reside in the White House only during the social season.
  • 1887. Crowds flock to see Francis Cleveland during the couple's railway tour of Southern and Western states.
  • September 9, 1893. Frances gives birth to baby Esther in the White House: a First Lady first.

Suggested Search Strategies:

  • [Try the following terms in combination, proximity, or as phrases using Search Pages in Chronicling America.] Frances Folsom Cleveland, Grover Cleveland, Red Top, Frank, Frankie, and First Lady.
  • It is important to use a specific date range if looking for articles for a particular event in order to narrow your results. President Cleveland served two non-consecutive terms and Frances served as First Lady from June 2, 1886- March 4, 1889 and March 4, 1893 – March 4, 1897.

Sample Articles from Chronicling America:

  • "How Grover's Heart Beats," St. Paul daily globe (St. Paul, MN), March 2, 1885, Page 3, Image 5, col. 3.
  • "Cupid at the White House," The National tribune (Washington, DC), April 22, 1886, Page 7, Image 7, col. 1.
  • "Love in a Cottage," St. Paul daily globe (St. Paul, MN), June 3, 1886, Page 1, Image 1, col. 1-7.
  • "Married," Clarksville weekly chronicle (Clarksville, TN), June 5, 1886, Page 3, Image 3, col. 1-3.
  • "Happily Paired," St. Landry democrat (Opelousas, LA), June 12, 1886, Page 2, Image 2, col. 3-5.
  • "Frankie's Best Dress," St. Paul daily globe (St. Paul, MN), September 12, 1886, Page 11, Image 11, col. 1.
  • "Grand Greeting," St. Paul daily globe (St. Paul, MN), October 12, 1887, Page 1, Image 1, col. 1-8.
  • "Welcome to Omaha," Omaha daily bee (Omaha, NE) , October 12, 1887, Page 1, Image 1, col. 1-7.
  • "Mrs. Cleveland's Part," The sun (New York, NY) , March 16, 1887, Page 2, Image 2, col. 5.
  • "Little Miss Cleveland ," The sun (New York, NY) , October 4, 1891, Page 1, Image 1, col. 4.
  • "The Clevelands' Baby ," The Farmers' union (Memphis, MO), October 15, 1891, Page 1, Image 1, col. 6.
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  April 16, 2015
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