How Much Do You Even Know About Our First Ladies?


nancy reagan

Nancy Reagan. (olebrat / Flickr)

Former First Lady Nancy Reagan, wife of President Ronald Reagan, died this week at age 95.

Why should we care about a former First Lady? Because the wives of presidents have done some pretty impressive things. Just look at Hillary Clinton, who's currently running for president herself, and Michelle Obama, who hasn't exactly been sitting around the White House eating bonbons. Pay some respect to the First Ladies of the US and see how you do on this quiz.


Which First Lady was the only FL to be born in a foreign country?

John Quincy Adams’ wife, Louisa
Thomas Jefferson’s wife, Martha
John Kennedy’s wife, Jackie
Barack Obama’s wife, Michelle

Eliza Johnson, who was married to Andrew Johnson, had tuberculosis, which got in the way of her First Lady duties. But she also taught Andrew Johnson …

how to milk cows
sewing and tailoring
playing the piano and violin

The first First Lady to earn a college degree was Lucy Webb Hayes, wife of Rutherford B. She got her degree in liberal arts from Cincinnati Wesleyan Female College, in 1850. She’s known now as “Lemonade Lucy.” How come?

She made dope lemonade
She coined the saying “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”
She was a proponent of “the temperance movement,” which was anti-alcohol
She was famous for her hospitality

Abigail Fillmore, married to Millard, obtained congressional funds in 1850 for what?

A fancy new powder room
The first official library in the Executive Mansion
The White House flower garden
dinner for all of the members of Congress on Sundays

Which one of these things did Eleanor Roosevelt (married to Franklin D.) NOT do?

Hold regular press conferences to which only women reporters were invited
Earn 34 honorary degrees
Flew in a plane with Amelia Earhart
Protest against segregation laws in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1938

True or false: Hillary Clinton is the only First Lady to be elected to public office.


Which First Lady coined the infamous anti-drug slogan “Just Say No”?

Nancy Reagan
Hillary Clinton
Laura Bush
Barbara Bush

Pat Nixon was the first First Lady to do what?

Swear on TV
Wear pants in public
Take over the presidency while her husband was away

LBJ’s wife, Lady Bird, was born Claudia but got her nickname when she was little: a nurse told her she was pretty “as a lady bird.” Lady Bird was no shrinking violet though. Which of these things did she NOT do?

Wear pants in public
Champion environmental causes
travel to 33 different countries
Receive the Medal of Freedom

Michelle Obama, our current First Lady, has pursued many initiatives: higher education, healthy eating, girls’ education, and veterans care. What HASN’T she done?

Visited Nelson Mandela at his house
Started a vegetable garden in the White House
Guest-edited a magazine
Saved the George Washington portrait from a fire

How Much Do You Even Know About Our First Ladies?

Brianna Snyder

Brianna has been working in media since 2005, when she left Westfield University in Massachusetts and became the listings editor at an alt-weekly in Hartford. Now, she's the senior editor at the Times Union Magazine Division in Albany, N.Y. She cares very much about news, Beyonce, the Internet, gin and tonic and that Vine of this one puppy who keeps falling asleep and smooshing his face on a pillow. Follow: @BriannaLSnyder or BriannaSnyder.com

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