Main Content


  • Video

    Elizabeth Keckly: From Slavery to the White House

    She was enslaved at birth, but became the first lady's favorite dressmaker and the author of a sensational memoir that shocked the American public. So who was Elizabeth Keckly? Learn more about the extraordinary life of Elizabeth Keckly in this short video. For more information about Slavery in the President's Neighborhood, click here. For more short, educational videos from the

  • Article

    Fashion and Frugality

    Sarah Childress Polk (1803–1891) was first lady from 1845 to 1849, during the administration of her husband, James Knox Polk. A fashion trendsetter, she used her keen intelligence, abiding religious faith, pleasant manner, and superb organizational skills to artfully regulate the White House, serve as her husband’s main political partner, and orchestrate an exhausting social schedule of receptions and dinners that helped Polk

  • Scholarship

    Alice Roosevelt Longworth: Presidential Daughter and American Celebrity

    Alice Lee Roosevelt’s life changed forever on September 14, 1901, when President William McKinley succumbed to his wounds eight days after being shot by an assassin. Vice President Theodore Roosevelt was quickly sworn in as the President of the United States. The Roosevelt family moved into the White House and the nation was introduced to one of the most sensational first ch

  • Article

    Frances Folsom Cleveland's White House Wardrobe

    President Grover Cleveland was ill-prepared for the American sovereigns’ (as he referred to the public) fascination with his soon-to-be-bride when he formally announced their upcoming nuptials on May 28, 1886. In an era in which people obtained their news in print, occasionally with the aid of an artist’s sketch, word traveled rapidly about the unusual beauty of Frances Folsom, Cleveland’s 21-year-

  • Gallery

    Frances Cleveland fox trimmed evening coat

    The cut-velvet evening coat with fox-trimmed collar and sleeves belonged to Frances Cleveland after the turn of the century. Paul Poiret, one of France’s great designers, introduced the cut of this coat with its signature “hobble” hem, following his departure from Maison Worth in 1904.