Frances Cleveland Biography

Name at birth: Frances Clara Folsom

Frances Cleveland was the wife of President Grover Cleveland and served as the First Lady of the United States from 1886 to 1889, and again from 1893 to 1897. Known whimsically as "Frank," Folsom was the only child of Cleveland's close friend and law partner, Oscar Folsom. After Oscar was killed in a carriage accident in 1875, Cleveland became the de facto guardian of 11-year-old Frances. After attending Wells College and touring Europe, she married President Cleveland on 2 June 1886. It was the first wedding held in the White House. A popular and charming hostess, Frances became a national celebrity whose image was used (without permission) on products, posters and advertisements. Her first term as First Lady was ended by the presidency of Benjamin Harrison, and when Cleveland won the election of 1892 she returned to the White House as hostess and young mother. The Clevelands settled in Princeton, New Jersey after 1897, and by 1903 had five children. Ruth, their first child, died in 1904 of diphtheria, and President Cleveland died in 1908, leaving Frances widowed at 44 with four children. She remarried archaeology professor Thomas J. Preston, Jr. in 1913 and spent the remainder of her life as respected member of the Princeton community.

Extra credit:

Mrs. Cleveland was married to her second husband for 34 years, longer than she was married to the president... "Baby Ruth" candy bar is supposedly named after the Cleveland's first child... Their second daughter, Esther (born 1893), was the first child to have been born in the White House.

Common Bonds
  • Drawing of Grover Cleveland standing before a minister with his bride

Aging Presidents, Sweet Young Brides

Something in Common with Frances Cleveland

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