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First Ladies of the United States Quiz

Question: Which first lady famously saved a portrait of George Washington when the British attacked the White House in 1814?
Answer: Just before the British burned down the White House (then called the Executive Mansion), Dolley Madison ordered Paul Jennings, a 15-year-old enslaved man, to save Gilbert Stuart’s portrait of George Washington. The portrait is now the only item on display in the White House that was present when it opened in 1800.
Question: Due to her husband’s untimely death, which first lady never lived at the White House?
Answer: President William Henry Harrison had the shortest presidential term in American history, dying exactly one month after his inauguration; his wife Anna Harrison hadn’t yet made the trip to Washington by the time of his passing.
Question: Soon after her husband took office in 1789, who wrote “…I think I am more like a state prisoner than anything else…”?
Answer: In a letter to her niece Fanny, Martha Washington confided that she felt confined in her new public role as the very first first lady.
Question: Which first lady was given an honorary Emmy Award for hosting a televised tour of the White House?
Answer: In February 1962 Jacqueline Kennedy hosted a televised tour of the White House, which aired on CBS and for which she was given an honorary Emmy Award. She is the only first lady to receive the award.
Question: After leaving the White House, what first lady co-founded a drug rehab facility?
Answer: In 1978 Betty Ford agreed to undergo treatment for her dependence on prescription drugs. After her successful treatment, in 1982 she opened the Betty Ford Clinic (today part of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation) to help others battling addictions.
Question: After her husband’s stroke, who functionally ran the executive branch of the government for the remainder of his term?
Answer: Although she didn’t start any new initiatives during her so-called “stewardship,” Edith Wilson took over many of the duties of government and selected matters that would garner the president’s attention.
Question: In 1878 Lucy Hayes began what holiday tradition that is still practiced annually on the White House lawn?
Answer: In the 1870s, children in Washington, D.C., rolled Easter eggs on Capitol Hill for fun. Not fond of the wear and tear this caused on the grounds, the U.S. Congress banned the practice in 1876. Two years later Lucy Hayes welcomed egg rollers to the White House, where it’s been a tradition ever since.
Question: Which first lady was once publicly lauded by her husband for wearing a "respectable Republican cloth coat"?
Answer: The embarrassing praise of Pat Nixon during her husband's famous “Checkers” speech was intended to dispel rumors that he had used a secret slush fund to enrich himself.
Question: Which first lady was the first to live in the White House?
Answer: The White House was unfinished when the Adamses arrived in 1800; Abigail Adams had to hang her wet laundry in what is now the East Room.
Question: Which first lady was the first to win elective office?
Answer: In 2000 Hillary Clinton became the first first lady to win elective office when she was elected U.S. senator from New York state.
Question: Younger than her husband Grover Cleveland by 27 years, Frances Cleveland was the only first lady to…
Answer: Frances Folsom married Grover Cleveland at age 21, becoming the youngest U.S. first lady in history. She gave birth to their child in the White House in 1893.
Question: Which first lady, after her husband's death, helped to draft the Universal Declaration of Human Rights?
Answer: Eleanor Roosevelt served as head of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (1946–51), which was responsible for producing the document.