The Quick 10: 10 Nicknames of U.S. First Ladies

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We all know lots about the U.S. Presidents - maybe too much (Monica Lewinsky, anyone?). But most of us don't know that much about the women who stood behind the men in office. Now you'll know a little bit more about 10 of them.

10 Nicknames of U.S. First Ladies

1. Lemonade Lucy, Lucy Hayes. Ulysses S. Grant made sure to have the White House wine cellar stocked up before he left so the Hayes administration would have plenty, but he shouldn't have bothered. Lucy didn't even allow guests to drink at her White House, with one exception: a group of Russian visitors in 1877.
2. Queen Mother, Dolley Madison. Dolley was a much-beloved First Lady. So much so, that even after her tenure as First Lady was over and even after her husband died, it became customary for incoming Presidents to visit her to receive her blessing before taking office.
3. Mrs. Presidentress, Julia Tyler. Mrs. Tyler took the liberty of naming herself. When she and her husband left the White House, she even insisted on being called "Mrs. Ex-Presidentress."
4. Sahara Sarah, Sarah Polk. Before Lemonade Lucy, there was Sahara Sarah. A deeply religious woman, Mrs. Polk didn't allow business to be conducted on Sundays and also didn't allow drinking, dancing or card-playing at the White House.
5. Shadow of the White House, Jane Pierce. You can hardly blame Jane for retreating into herself - all three of her children died when they were young. The last of them, Bennie, was decapitated right in front of her eyes. After that, she spent most of her time at the White House holed up in her room, writing her sons letters begging for forgiveness.
6. Nervous Nellie, Helen Taft. By all accounts, Helen had just as much ambition to be in the White House as her husband, if not more. Once they were in office, Helen injected herself into all White House proceedings. This gave the impression that she thought her husband could not make decisions on his own, thus earning her the Nervous moniker.
7. The Duchess, Florence Harding. Before either one of the Fergies, there was Flo. How did she get her name? When she said, "Jump," everyone, including her husband, said, "How high?"
8. Lady Bird, Claudia Johnson. Mrs. Johnson was one of the only First Ladies known almost exclusively by her nickname. She received it at birth, when a nurse picked her up and declared her as pretty as a lady bird.
9. Plastic Pat, Pat Nixon. Plastic Pat became Plastic thanks to her husband's wrongdoings - she became famous for plastering a smile on her face during press conferences addressing Tricky Dick's scandals. Tricky Dick and Plastic Pat - what a pair.
10. Evita of Santa Barbara. Nancy may be a grandmotherly type now, but when "Ronnie" was first elected, she was a bit of a glamour-puss. She showed up at events wearing mink and other expensive items, which people thought was a bit tasteless, considering the economic crisis a lot of Americans were faced with at the time. The press gave her the unflattering nickname, but ultimately, it didn't stick.

August 4, 2008 - 10:21am
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