Frances Folsom Cleveland
July 21, 1864, in Buffalo, New York
October 29, 1947, in Baltimore, Maryland
At the very young age of 21, Frances Folsom became first lady when she married President Grover Cleveland in what has become the only presidential wedding in the White House. They married in an intimate candlelit ceremony in the Blue Room on June 2, 1886, during the second year of Cleveland’s first term. Frances subsequently served as first lady for the remainder of Cleveland’s first term through 1889 and then the entirety of his second term in the years 1893-1897.
Though Frances was the youngest first lady ever, she stepped up to the demanding role with grace and became extremely popular with the public. In particular, working women appreciated that Frances hosted Saturday receptions so that they could visit the White House. In 1891 Frances gave birth to the only child of a president to be born in the White House. The presidential infant was a daughter named Ruth. The child gained such notoriety that in later years the candy bar Baby Ruth was named in her honor. In addition to Ruth, Frances had four other children.
Before leaving the White House after Cleveland lost his first bid for reelection, Frances was confident they would return and informed the staff, “I want you to take good care of all the furniture and ornaments in the house, for I want to find everything just as it is now when we come back again four years from today.”