in good Grace.

IMGFirst Ladies continues…

Grace Anna Goodhue Coolidge (1879-1957) married Calvin Coolidge in 1905. She served as First Lady from August 2, 1923 through March 4, 1929.

She was born in Burlington, VT and graduated from UVM. She taught at the Clarke School for the Deaf in Northhampton, MA.

When watering flowers outside the school one day- she burst out laughing when she happened to see Calvin shaving in front of a mirror in nothing but his long underwear and a hat. They officially met shortly after and quickly fell in love.

She is described as being an outgoing, vivacious woman who shined as White House hostess. Grace was extremely popular, fashionable and generous with her time. In 1931 she was voted one of America’s twelve greatest living women by the National Institute of Social Sciences. She continued to work with the deaf throughout her life and was active with the Red Cross.

She is buried next to President Coolidge in Plymouth, Vermont.

Strong Helen.


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Yet another fascinating First Lady: Helen “Nellie” Herron Taft.

Born in 1861 died in 1943, she was the wife of President William Howard Taft.

Helen was born in Cincinnati, Ohio to a prestigious family. She met William Taft at a bobsledding party. He was 22 and she was 18. They began dating in 1882 and they wed on June 19, 1886 at her parents home.

Two months after entering the white house in 1909, Mrs. Taft had a stroke that left her with impaired speech. Although she never fully recovered, she still entertained and received guests three afternoons a week. She had 3020 Japanese cherry trees planted in the Washington Tidal Basin in 1912. She opposed Prohibition (Cheers Mrs. Taft!), promoted women’s suffrage and rights for factory workers, and is the only woman to eventually be a First Lady and a wife to a Chief Justice. William Howard Taft is the only person to have served in both of these offices.

Also cool- before meeting the president, she graduated from the Cincinnati College of Music.

“I had always had the satisfaction of knowing almost as much as he [W.H. Taft] about the politics and intricacies of any situation in which he found himself, and my life was filled with interests of a most unusual kind.” 


the fabulous Jackie O.


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If you grew up in Massachusetts, you know that our parents and grandparents consider the Kennedy Family to be royalty. Except for maybe Joe- my grandfather use to scowl and call him a crook.

Jacqueline Bouvier married John F. Kennedy in 1953 at St. Mary’s in Newport, RI and their reception was held at her mother and step-father’s Newport estate.

We all know her very tragic story, so here’s some things that you might not know about this former first lady.

1. She campaigned to save Grand Central Station in the mid 1970s.

2. She was engaged to another man. John G.W. Husted, a stockbroker. But called it off in 1952. She is quoted as saying he was dull and immature.

3. She won an Emmy for her “A Tour of the White House” on CBS. She spent over a year restoring and redecorating her new home. 56 Million viewers tuned in to see the results.

4. Before she married JFK, she was a camera girl for the Washington Times Herald and covered the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

5. She was fluent in French, Spanish and Italian.

6.  In her 1947 yearbook from an all-girl school in Connecticut, she listed her life ambition as “to not be a housewife.”

posthumously first.


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Continuing with the First Ladies theme- Here is Ellen Arthur (1837-1880) wife of the 21st President, Chester A. Arthur I.

Ellen was born into a very prominent Southern family- her father a renowned Naval Officer, William Lewis Herndon, went down with his ship in 1857. It was the largest loss of life in a commercial shipping disaster. Herndon managed to safely evacuate over 150 women and children- but went down with 400 passengers and crew.

Ellen (or as they called her- Nell) married Chester on October 25th, 1859 in New York City. For the most part, their marriage was a good one- they had two sons and a daughter- but the marriage was somewhat strained by political turmoil and her sympathies towards the Confederacy.

She died from Pneumonia on January 12, 1880- a year before her husband was sworn into office. Arthur’s sister Mary McElroy served as the unofficial First Lady and helped raise the children.

First Ladies


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So I ran a poll on the HW Facebook page and got some GREAT suggestions for this month’s theme and I’m going with First Ladies of the United States. Rather fitting to kick it off on the Fourth of July.

First up is Frances Cleveland.

She was the First Lady to President Grover Cleveland from 1886 to 1889 and again from 1893 to 1897. She is the youngest first lady in the history of our country- becoming so at the age of 21.

Some firsts for both:

- They were the only couple to wed at the White House while in office (they were married in the Blue Room)

- She was, and still is the youngest First Lady

- Their age difference (27 years) is the second largest of any Presidential marriage.

- She is the only first lady to preside at two non-consecutive administrations.

- She was the first Presidential Widow to remarry

Frances was quite a media sensation and became very popular during both terms. They had three daughters and two sons. When her husband died in 1908, she spent most of her time in Princeton, NJ and eventually married Thomas J. Preston Jr. in 1913. During the great depression, she led the Needlework Guild of America generating clothing for the poor. When she died in 1947 at the age of 83, she was buried next to her first husband the former President.

Young Vagabond!


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Screen shot 2014-06-29 at 7.24.53 PM
Sooooo excited to share this news. I recently did an interview with Irina Michaels at Young Vagabond Magazine and I couldn’t be more thrilled with the spread and write-up. Reading through this edition, I’ve quickly fallen in love with this publication. It’s a must-have for girls!!! To buy a digital copy for only $4.99 go here: !

Here’s a sneak peek.

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Coal Miner’s Daughter


Wrapping up my month long tribute to Literary Heroines is Katniss Everdeen.

A truly complicated character, Katniss is in constant pain and turmoil but somehow triumphs and saves the nation of Panem from it’s INSANE government. She is fiercely independent, resourceful, and intelligent.

If you have only seen the movies, you are truly missing out. These books are beautifully written. Suzanne Collins is a genius.

I did hear that there is a Hunger Games theme park up for discussion- that sounds like the creepiest thing I’ve ever heard! I would still check it out- but, uh… murdering children to survive doesn’t sound like a good family vacation idea.

For the record, I am definitely on team Peetah. I love him.


“Mr. Darcy” must be said with an English Accent.


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So many fab literary women to cover, I may do this again next spring.

Next up- Elizabeth Bennet. She is one of the most beloved characters in literature.

The star of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice  is smart, playful, clever, honest, quick-witted, and sharp-tongued- Her obstacles and inner battles, as well as family issues and dealings with snobby social circles still resonate in today’s world.

NO idea why I love her so much, lol.

The fearless Shieldmaiden of Rohan


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EowynFNext up for my month-long focus on literary heroines… Éowyn. Niece to King Théoden.

Loyal, fearless, graceful, idealistic, beautiful and GREAT with a sword! She is one of my favorite women in literature. Her titles include: Lady of Rohan, Lady of Ithilien and Lady of Emyn Arnen. She triumphed over the Witch-king and proved her unwavering bravery in a crisis.

I will say, if I had my way- I’d live in Rivendell, not Rohan. ahhhh… Middle Earth. And while I’m wishing for the unreasonable, I wouldn’t mind sitting around a pub with C.S. and J.R.R. drinking pints and discussing whatever it was they discussed.

the infamous Stella Mayfair


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More literary heroines, although, I’m not sure Stella would get filed under “hero.” The Witching Hour by Anne Rice introduces us to 13 witches, my favorite being, Stella. She was restless, flamboyant, carefree and embodied the spirit of the Roaring 20′s. A party girl that always got kicked out of school. The main character in this book, Rowan, is just as fabulous. Personal tid bit: when my daughter was born, I asked the doctor if she looked like a Rowan or a Stella… Stella Miette is now 7.

This is a bit of a tribute to my friend Edward Branley (an expert on NOLA History)- I had the pleasure of visiting him in New Orleans this past April. He brought me on a grand tour of the Quarter… with a stop at the Mayfair Mansion! It was amazing. If I wasn’t with a group of friends, I would’ve been peeking in the windows and sketching in the garden.

You can purchase The Witching Hour by Anne Rice here:

You can purchase Ed’s books on NOLA History here:


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