Jan 20, 2009

A First Lady a Day: Harriet Lane

The 2009 Inaugural Balls have started! So this installment will be brief. Harriet Lane was the 27 year old niece and ward of bachelor President James Buchanan. They had a rather good partnership, and she was highly thought of in the European capitials from his time there as an Ambassador. Harriet served as his offical hostess from 1857 - 1861. She was accomplished and polished beyond her years, enormously popular, and ended up living a full, useful and fascinating life. Check her out at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harriet_Lane

Her Inaugural Ball Dress:

from : http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06339/743517-51.stm

Lovely. You will notice that Mary Todd Lincoln wore a dress four years in 1861 that was very similar, and I thought it was too youthul and low cut. The difference is age and situation. Mary Todd Lincoln was a mother and wife in her 40s. Harriet Lane was a single woman of 27. It makes a difference.

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