Presidents' Children married
during their father's presidency
Five Great Weddings
Here is a synopsis of five great weddings of presidential children in American history. Offer your own assessment of how the Chelsea Clinton and Jenna Bush weddings compare.
1. The White House wedding of Maria Monroe. An event marred by a murder, it was the first great social event in American history. It became the subject of Cabinet Meetings. The uninvited diplomatic corps became enraged and the resultant furor stiffened the president’s spine as he enunciated his famous Monroe Doctrine, our most enduring foreign policy initiative.
2. The wedding of Fanny Hayes, daughter of President Rutherford B. Hayes. She came to the White House at the same age of Malia Obama. And the nation followed her life. Only when both of her parents died did she finally marry. The nation was overjoyed. The ceremony was held in Ohio and the sitting president and his cabinet took their private trains to journey to the event.
3. The Westminster Abbey wedding of Esther Cleveland. Now this one gets complex. Imagine trying to explain the Clintons in one paragraph? President Grover Cleveland married his own ward in a White House ceremony. He was 49, she was 21. Much of the nation was outraged. The president did not kiss the bride at the White House wedding. But when the couple had a child of their own, the nation was smitten. It was not the baby’s fault. The lives of Ruth Cleveland and later her sister Esther were followed avidly. When Ruth died at age 12, the nation went into deep morning. The Curtis Candy Company issued its controversial “Baby Ruth” candy bar. When Esther finally married minor English gentry at Westminster Abbey in London, England it captured the news on both continents.
4. Alice Roosevelt may have had the greatest wedding in American history. She is referred to by some as the first great female celebrity of the 20th century. She shocked the nation by smoking cigarettes in public and driving a car without a chaperone but was too popular for pulpits to condemn. The number one hit song in the country was about her. There was a color named for her. Alice’s wedding to congressman Nicholas Longworth covered every inch of the front page of the Washington Post.
5. Tricia Nixon’s wedding represented the high water mark in weddings for presidential children. After the two Johnson daughter dress rehearsals, this resulted in national television specials that ran in prime time with photographs and some film footage of the event. Tricia Nixon Cox was a stunner, who appeared twice on the cover of Life Magazine.
The List of Weddings
Those in bold type were married in the White House. The others were married during their father's presidency but at another location. To learn more go to Doug Wead's White House Weddings dot com.
1. Maria Hester Monroe March 9, 1820 Samuel L. Gouverneur
2. John Adams Feb. 25, 1828 Mary Catherine Hellen
3. Andrew Jackson Jr. Nov. 24, 1831 Sarah Yorke
4. Abraham Van Buren Nov. 27, 1838 Angelica Singleton
5. Elizabeth Tyler Jan. 31, 1842 William Nevison Waller
6. Nellie Grant May 21, 1874 Algernon Charles Satoris
7. Frederick Grant Oct. 20, 1874 Ida Marie Honore
8. Alice Roosevelt Feb. 17, 1906 Rep. Nicholas Longworth
9. Jessie Wilson Nov. 25, 1913 Frances Bowes Sayre
10. Eleanor Wilson May 7, 1914 William Gibbs McAdoo
11. Anna Roosevelt Jan. 1935 John Boettiger
12. Elliot Roosevelt July 22, 1933 Ruth Googins
13. James Roosevelt April 14, 1941 Romelle Schneider
14. FDR, Jr. June 30, 1937 Ethel duPont
15. John Roosevelt June 18, 1938 Anne Lindsay Clark
16. Luci Baines Johnson Aug. 6, 1966 Patrick John Nugent
17. Lynda Bird Johnson Dec. 9, 1967 Charles Spittal Robb
18. Tricia Nixon June 12, 1971 Edward Ridley Finch Cox
19. Dorothy Walker Bush June 26, 1992 Robert Koch
Note: Julie Nixon married David David Eisenhower, II on December 22, 1968 after Richard Nixon was elected president but before his inauguration.
The Dorothy Bush wedding took place at the presidential retreat at Camp David.