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Harriet Lane Johnston

Note: Harriet Lane Johnston was President Buchanan's niece. He was the only bachelor President. Harriet served as his first lady in the White House.
Harriet Lane was born on May 9, 1830 in Franklin County, Pennsylvania.

She went to a private school and studied at the Visitation Convent in Georgetown.

Harriet joined her uncle in Landon when he was minister to Great Britain.

She became friends with Queen Victoria.

When James became President his now 26 year old niece moved into the White House and became the official hostess.

At his inauguration, Miss Lane wore a white dress decorated with artificial flowers and a necklace with several strands of pearls.

Harriet ran her own life and spent some afternoons riding her beautiful white horse. She rode side-saddle.

It was said the Harriet was her uncles "confidant in all matters political and private."

After the presidency, Harriet married when she was 35. She married a banker named Henry Johnson.

Henry died 18 years after they were married. They had two sons.

Both their sons died, she dedicated herself to charitable work.

She left her extensive art collection to the Smithsonian Institute.

Harriet died in July 3, 1903 in Rhode Island. She was 75.




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Sources of Information:

Barden, Cindy,Meet the First Ladies, Lorenz Corp.
Gormley, Beatrice,First Ladies: Women Who Called The White House Home (First Ladies) , Scholastic Paperbacks, 1997
Smith, Carter, Editor,Smithsonian Presidents and First Ladies DK Publishing, New York, 2002

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This page was last updated on: September 3, 2017