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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.” 

 

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