Sunday, April 24, 2011

Worst Presidents' Wives, Harriet Lane

There's never been a President Lane, you say? Well, you are correct in that. Harriet Lane was the orphaned niece of James Buchanan, the life-long bachelor, and he pushed onto her all the social duties at the White House. Buchanan adopted her before she became the First Lady. The "Democrat Queen" as Mr. Buchanan tagged her may have influenced him in some decisions, but nothing I read in preparation for this post made me think that she had anything to do with him becoming one of the worst Presidents, a judgement of historians and critics that came after his term.

Harriet Lane was the culture queen of the Washington set, heavy into art and asking cultural guests to attend the functions at the White House, and not unattractive to her acquaintances and friends, having one old gent ask for her hand, which she politely turned down. She did marry after her White House years and had two boys, and devoted herself to furthering the arts and helping people who asked for help, dying in 1903.

Some have said or thought that Pres. Buchanan was gay, although his girlfriend died early and he never got married.

A picture of Harriet Lane (Source: Wikimedia, picture is in public domain, expiration of copyright.)



  1. Well, she's a step up from the last one, that's for sure. Hope you had a Happy Easter too, Oscar.

  2. WoW! I'm getting a history lesson here that they don't teach in school. Very interesting!